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Bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch... )
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For a most spoilery rant about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows )

Peace, Ghani
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It's one of the most common childhood fears: A darkened bedroom, a child asleep, curled up in the covers, when sudeenly a tap, tap, tap at the window awakens them. At first, as they groggily come to awareness, they might believe that it's only the wind, a tree branch, perhaps, blown against the pane. Perhaps it's all a dream and the child never really heard anything at all. There's a breathless moment of anticipation, silence, and then it comes again, more deliberate. The child snaps awake and, wide-eyed, slips out of bed and cautiously approaches the window. Each footstep on the floor brings the child closer and closer, the shadows cast on the walls are moving--is that the outline of a person?! Carefully, the child draws the blinds back and looks out. Standing there, in the darkness they see... George Washington.

Total. Mood killer.

I can safely add that now to the very short list of things that would absolutely not terrify me if seen standing out side my window, right ahead of Luke Skywalker and a very comfy chair.

Peace, Ghani
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Homer: Kids, kids. I'm not going to die. That only happens to bad people.
Lisa: What about Abraham Lincoln?
Homer: He sold poison milk to school children.
Marge: Homer!
-The Simpsons

Okay, so I adore anthology show Masters of Horror. Not only does it showcase new and upcoming talent in the genre (who aren't Eli Roth, my nemisis), but it gives a chance to those who have worked pretty thanklessly for years. I don't think I've ever sat through one I didn't enjoy on some level. Erm, until last night that is. Actually, I was really enjoying the first half, but then realized where it was all going, and at a snail's pace as well, and not only felt dissatisfied, but rather alarmed by its message.

It's not unusual to find political satire in horror; hell, like sci-fi, it seems ripe for it. I've seen quite a few on Masters of Horror itself, such as the amazing, surprisingly touching and sharp Homecoming, so when my sister turned it on last night and the opening scene involved the lead characters listening to a political talk show on the radio, I knew what I was in for. Or thought I did at least.

It got progressively stranger from there. The parents of a ten year old daughter don't think it's odd or creepy at all that an older gent, who is behaving so strangely I'd have a hard time not laughing in his face, offer the kid a lollipop of his favorite flavor, cherry. Um, yeah. Wjat they do find creepy and odd is a portrait of George Washington in their deceased granny's basement. Yup, folks Washington. George. The. The little girl screams when she catched sight of a beam of light only highlighting his eyes and the father proclaims that he was always scared of the painting. Yup, George Washington, the very same historical favorite who could ruin any Ouji reading at any happening slumber party just by his presence via the board; he's just not scary!

Well, it was called The Washiontonians and did have a Headless Horseman-esque opening sequence in which a Revolutionary figure stalks and cuts a woman's head off, so we decided to wait and see. Where was this all going? Down the crapper, it turned out. You see, Washington, according to this story, was a cannibal. Remember the cherry tree? Well, that was a metaphor for virginity, and cutting down the cherry tree equated in eating the flesh of a virgin. seriously, folks, I couldn't make this up if I tried. and I wouldn't want to.

You see, in the end, our lesson was that people want to believe the myth of history, it's what survives, and some would go to any length to conceal "the truth" (used in the same vague manner as it was on X-Files, where they threw around the term weekly without ever defining just what they expected it to be). In a none too suble allegory (with emphasis on the gory), we're shown that governments are cruel cannibalistic monsters who eat the people they serve and turn inward on themselves. At the very end, we're told that "one George was swapped for another", and we're shown a dollar bill with Dubbya's face proudly smiling back at us as the characters comically all exclaim, 'No shit!'

I got over the idea that history was written by the winners when I was in my teens; after all, if that were true, what would we know about Auschwitz, Wounded Knee, or Billy the Kid? What my sister said after watching it was true: History sorts itself out; it's the present people are usually blind to. But, more than that, the paranoia of governmental mistrust runs so deeply throughout the story, it scared me. The end comes as the cannibals are gunned down by "the men who could cover up anything", like Roswell, we're told. The kindly professor who was in search of that elusive "the truth" tells our intrepid hero to get the word out, no matter what. I mean, the whole thing is fucking insane!

And it's offensive. Trust me, I'm not the model of a flag waving partior these days, but I do respect our history and the men who had the vision to set us all on a new course in life. While they refer to Washington's image as that of a "kindly old gentleman" in the show, I've always thought of him as the spirit of youthful, idealistic exuberance, just like our own country back in those days. How, in any way, their situation echoes our present day conundrum completely eludes me, to compare the war in Iraq with the Revoltuion is hilariously offbase and plain bizzare, to compare the respective leaders is worse.

And I have to wonder just how they thought history could be hidden quite so well when we know more about them than we really should do via letters (and don't tell me Adams was in any way involved in any of this because, for Gawd's sake, it's Adams!); our attempt to "humanize" them stripping them of a kind of pleasant mystique we've kept to.

And what's with Washington's fake teeth? Do people really find them ominous and terrifying? There's such a strange focus on the grotesqueness of his dentures, with close-ups of the cannibals mock pairs and one even having an almost orgasmic reaction to the originals. Are people really scared of this shit?! Is this, like, some rational fear that other people have and we just don't know about it?! My grandmother wore dentures and, aside from the contant click-clack that could get on one's nerves, I wasn't ever really mortally terrified of them. And the thing with the wood- it's old, guys! We know from historic texts that they didn't look bad! Well, why would they? He was rich, he was famous, would he really have disguting dentures? Think about it. Or, please don't, actually.

I know it's just a fantasy, but who would write this stuff, who would believe this is an accurate analogy?! I always knew the complete whackjobs were out there, I just never realized that someone who was as seemingly intelligent as to get his works published would be on the level of men who wear tinfoil hats so the CIA can't read their thoughts.

Peace, Ghani
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Yeah, so my sister was off to the polls first thing this morning. Believe the hype folks: Florida is teh suck when it comes to voting. You can start out bright eyed and bushy tailed, confident that "Those things" only happen in extreme situations; the voters being turned away from polling places because the "machines aren't working"; the volunteers trying their damned hardest to frustrate and turn away as many people as they can.

Hell, it happened to my sister. Yup, in nice, residential, safe Gainesville, where the vote is usually overwhelmingly Democratic (we were one of the very few counties were no recount was required, Gore was the clear winner) did we run in to one horrendously stupid and stubborn woman who, because she couldn't understand what my sister was saying (my sister's deaf but speaks very well and very clearly, to the point where most don't realize she is completely deaf, though it does say it on her licence) wanted to hold her back. Absolutely truthful. She made my sister recite our address TWICE while she scrutinized the signature on her driver's licence against the one she used to sign in; she wouldn't give her back her licence until she was satisfied it was the same. I think she was a step away from telling my sister that she was "unfit" to vote when another, friendlier and younger woman stepped in and corrected it as fast as she could. A less tenacious voter would have given up, which I'm pretty sure was the point, but we are talking about my sister here! ;-) Did I mention that it proudly displays our party affiliations next to our names?

Stupid, obnoxious, prejudicial bitch.

Peace, Ghani
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ARGH! The ongoing saga that is my laptop crash resfuses to die! After months of drama, taking it to best Buy, having them run the diagnostic, telling them to install a new hard drive, waiting for them to do it, calling Compaq to get a new set of back up discs (my brother did that part, I hate phones! Bleh!), waiting for 'em, taking them to best Buy for the Geek Squad to install, I got it home today and discovered, surprise, that the one feature I use, the word processor, wasn't there. Oh, they installed virus protection and media players galore, which are all pretty useless to me as I don't use my laptop to get online. But no Word, no Works. So, now, I'll have to wait until I have the moolah, which might not be for some time, shell it out and install that. I am vexed.

And what a lovely way to end a day that started, well, near 4 o'clock this morning, when I actually fell asleep. Been drowsy ever since finally dragging my lazy butt out of bed around noon. Had some particularly vivid dreams which kept me restless, snoozing in fits and starts, and even though every time I woke up, I told myself, 'Don't have the same dream, don't have the same dream', it was right there again when I drifted off. I don't get my hyper-real Titanic dreams so much anymore, but when I do, they're usually whoppers; whether that has to do with a heightened level of reality or the fact that I'm not "used" to them anymore, I do not know. All I know is, it's impossible to explain them because they work on feelings rather sight or description. I can't put down in words the sheer and over-whelming enormity of the ship as I sat in a small lifeboat alongside it, the frightening height of the stern as it stood straight in the air, or the smoke stack as it broke off. Truly terrifying stuff and you're going to have to take my word on it because nothing could ever sum up the sheer emotions I was feeling while dreaming. Still right now, thinking about it, it scares the hell out of me!

Ah, well. I suppose it's a trade off: One night, Bale sex, the next, Titanic sinking! Then again, if I remember correctly, Bale sex also including family!angst and hentai-style tentacle rape... Well, strike that theory. ;-P

Peace, Ghani
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Just some things I've been thinking about for a while. Fandom is a strange beast, and a rather nasty one if it is so inclined, as it has been for me as of late. LJ is a miraculous thing: Click something into the search interest slot, and dozens of communities pop up, so many to choose from! It's kind of like the internet got that much wider, that much larger; it's like comparing a grain of sand on the beach to the beach itself. Googling things was fine and it'd come up with some interesting results sometimes, but I alreayd belonged to too many different message boards and lists and groups etc. to really get involved in anything. Plus, you couldn't really gauge the quality of conversation or opinions as they were isolated sites. LJ has erradicated all of that fuss and bother (I was neever much good at "surfing the net" to begin with and often missed a lot of stuff) and put everything in one place for me. Easy? Yes. Fun? Well, in theory...

What have I heard recently? Ah, the time-tested and always obnoxiously snide battle cry of You're not a true fan! So, what makes a true fan? I was recently forced to apologize on a community that I had deemed pretty friendly and was having fun talking with people. And then I made the comment. The comment that caused the You're not a true fan! reaction. I was not aware of a supporting cast member's death in a particular movie and, when faced with the comment that I must not be a true fan if I don't know that, I chose to try and make it clear that it's really impolite to judge someone from one comment they've made. They have just made a rude comment to me, therefor, they are rude! Well, not neccessarily but by their logic... I was somehow turned into the villain of the piece as the poster somewhat backhandedly "apologized" by explaining their logic and recieving compliments how *they* were so above *my* pettiness.

Did I ask if they had a copy of the promotional newspaper handed out at this particular movies double-feature sneak preview? Did I measure their dedication to the fandom by how many they took or how many they've kept over the past 14 years? No, because I don't see things that way though I certainly could have made the argument.

Consequence: What was a perfectly lovely community that I was enjoying shooting the breeze on, sharing stories and pictures, now feels sullied and inhospitable. Pneh.

Another I commonly run into: Yes, one can be critical of something one loves. As a matter of fact, I would expect that the more one adores something, the more critical they would be about elelments that did not work for them, that felt like a letdown etc. I found a community I thought was aboslutely perfect for me, a community I believed I could have intelligent discussion with other members of. The moment I said something half-way critical or, apparently, unpopular, I was made to feel unwelcome. I did not back down because it's something I feel very passionately about and by assembling an argument based on a characters portrayal in a movie adaptation, the changing and editing of that character within the movie's context and the original intention of the author the movies were based on, I felt very proud and strongly in my convictions indeed! Though a member had initially expressed excitement over a new face with new opinions, I was deemed old hat, another fandom favorite: We've already gone over this a million time!. I suppose I was labeled a lurker or a troll or something else undesirable and ignored past the point of my final argument. I good humoredly answered a post after mine that I felt *perhaps* (just perhaps; I'm not paranoid) was taking a rather sharp swipe at me but have not really been active in that community since.

Consequence: Meh. I guess my opinions are not as valid as the true fans and I'm a snobby book purist. I wouldn't say I wouldn't consider posting over there again but the response kind of killed what was rather excited momentum.

And then there is the fandom mix: You can't adore this as much as you do if you love that as well! It's as if it's inconceivable that one can be an avid fan of this and this and this mainly because other fans (i.e., in this case, true trolls) go and spoil it by poo poohing fandom X as being so much better as fandom Y.

I have been lucky enough to join communities on and off LJ that I've found my opinions to be valued on, that none of these arguments have ever arised on, such as my dear Horatians, where I have made friends that I know will last a lifetime; certain boards dedicated to Doctor Who, one of which I'm a moderator on; a very nice Star Wars board once thatw as unfortunately doomed and eventually ruined.

So, what is fandom?

Main Entry: 3fan
Function: noun
Etymology: probably short for fanatic
1 : an enthusiastic devotee (as of a sport or a performing art) usually as a spectator
2 : an ardent admirer or enthusiast (as of a celebrity or a pursuit) {science-fiction fans }

Main Entry: fan┬Ědom
Pronunciation: 'fan-d&m
Function: noun
: all the fans (as of a sport)

No clauses, no competition. Simple enjoyment and a certain devotion. Is that so wrong?

Peace, Ghani
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First off: Sah-weet news concerning Spider-Man 3 says that the glorious, beautiful, talented, miraculous Bryce Dallas Howard has been cast to play the much-better-love-interest-for-Peter-than-that-skank-Mary Jane Gwen Stacy! Whooo hoooo! Love to see where they take this one! Also interesting to note that Gwen's a blonde in the comic, Bryce is naturally ginger, the opposite is true of Kirsten Dunst (and her hair looked Gawd awrful in the last one iffin you ask me!). BITE ME, Dunst! Ha!

Also a whooo hooo: First pic of Psylocke from X-Men 3 has been revealed and, yes, she has purple hair! Still don't love her being lumped with the Brotherhood, as if they were just grasping characters from the comics to make fans go 'Kewl' when it's actually detrimental to them. I would have loved Psylocke to get in there between Jean and Scott, shake things up so Jean takes her goo-goo eyes off of Logan for two seconds of film time.

Betsy Braddock behind the cut )

But the real meat of my post now: Went to see Underworld: Evolution yesterday; both me and Ann are HUGE fans of the first. Ann was expecting more and was disappionted; I was expecting crap and was delighted! (I know, shame on me, huh? Some fan but I was just so worried they would ruin it!) The blood practically gushes from the screen but not in that sick, Hostel this-could-happen-to-you way; definitely comic-booky though it's still absolutely grotesque. Even this hardened horror fan closed her eyes when Alexander (Derek Jacobi) cut open Viktor's (Bill Nighy) chest.

Yes, the sex is "Playboy" sex: Perfectly posed, totally uninvolved, neat clean and unrevealing. It's still the only sex I've seen in a movie that wasn't hailed as a dramatic masterpiece by critics in a loooong while! Plus, hey, Scott Speedman's ass!

And that brings me to my clash with Ann: I generally find Michael to be an inoffensive addition to the cast of characters, and am even a little happy there's a romance though in no way do I want Selene going "soft." She hates him. Hates him with every fibre of her being, apparently, cos I had to listen to her tell me in the car on the way home how much she hates him in every detail. And this from the same person who got pissy with me because I was thrileld with Narnia and she adored! Honestly, she was harshing my buzz, and in no uncertain terms.

He didn't turn out to be the great savoir of the Lycan/Vampire race war, in fact, he didn't turn out to be anything very special at all and no one seemed to notice he was even there, so I was happy. He didn't come in at the end and save the day, though he helped. In other words, he took what normally is the female role in action/thriller/horror movies. He is, simply put, just the love interest. And that's good by me!

But what is this? My experience was almost totally ruined by the theater's crappy reels of loud, obnoxious commercials! Gone are the days of the cards for local businesses, trivia questions, unscramble the name and so forth. Gone even are the days of the Regal Twenty, the thingie that started 20 minutes before the show and was basically an ad for whatever TNT/TBS was pushing at the time as well as a featurette about an upcoming movie.

No, now all they do it bombard you with blasting images for the army, Coke, and M&Ms, claiming that they are, in fact, showing you behind the scenes footage (a commercial for TBS starring John Cleese was actually touted at the end of the reel as being a behind the scenes look, I kid you not!). My head was POUNDING before the previews even started and by then, I was in such a bad mood, I was truly ready to kill the projectionist. I couldn't watch the previews because of my headache (yes, I'm not exaggerating, I had a blinding headache!) and wanted to tell the makers of each individual film that popped before my eyes where to stick the Coke bottle I'd just seen four ads for! Luckily, once the movie kicked in, I was able to relax a little but I'm not being a drama queen when I say that it came this close to ruining my movie experience. In some ways it did; I didn't enjoy it as much as I should have.

I hate theaters.

Peace, Ghani

Boo!

Jan. 1st, 2006 01:19 pm
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From Super Hero Hype:

The evil mutant assassin Psylocke has joined the lineup of X-Men 3, which 20th Century Fox will release on May 26, 2006.

The Hollywood Reporter says the character will be played by Filipina actress Mei Melancon, who previously worked with "X3" director Brett Ratner in Rush Hour 2.

Psylocke, who has had several incarnations in the Marvel comic book series, is best known for her fighting and telepathic skills as well as an ability to transport herself and others through shadows.

In the film, she will fight against the X-Men as a member of Magneto's (Ian McKellen) Brotherhood of Mutants.


Part of the Brotherhood?! Oh, come on! I've been wanting Betsy in the movies for some time, if only to give Scott a little bit of a jolt so it's not always 'I love Logan but Scott's stable so I guess I'll go with him.' Give Cyce a little bit o' hot ass to shake Jean up a bit! She is NOT some secondary character they can just throw into the mix as they like, like, say, and I'm being harsh, Callisto. She's been coveted by Scott, romanced by Warren (in the movie now part of the "baby X-Men"). You deserve better, Ms. Braddock!

Good news: she's actually going to be played by an Asian actress. The bad news is that, if she were a major X-Men character in the movie, she'd probably be caucasian.

Pfui!

Peace, Ghani
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Well, here I sit, watching the bizarre weather. While we're not (luckily!) going to be hit on by Wilma, we're under a Tropical Storm Watch and we're getting that strange kind of wind. The kind of wind that only blows with a big storm, that knocks down branches and causes aches in the house that never complain otherwise. It's also about 30 degrees cooler, making it a very nice fall day for a change. I'm wearing a sweatshirt, yay! Well, I'm still wearing sandles but, hey, that's Florida!

Other thoughts running around my brain are how underrated the fourth season of Alias was. Sure, it started out extremely weak but it really hit its stride for those who persisted watching it, and the episodes focusing on characters who have been relegated lately to the background, like Marshall, Sloan, were beautiful and devastating. Particularly astounding was the one about Jack, where Sidney finds out he's ill and finds herself recreating their living situation 20 years ago, playing the part of her mother. It was my sister who observed that it was particularly powerful cos, while cold, scary Jack is always fun and exciting, to realize he used to be a full, happy person was just heart rending. The fifth season, IMO, is shaping up to be the best since the second and the absence of Vaughn (though I don't think he's really dead) is opening things up quite a bit. I dunno if it was because of the situation with Jen Garner or what, but he was kind of becoming a scene killer. Yes, I'll have to live without Weiss, sigh, but Balthazar Getty's making up for my heart ache a bit (oh, how fickle I am!)!

Watched Land of the Dead the other day (unfortunately, video store only had full screen theatrical cut so that's what we got but I plan on trying to nab the other soon) and boy, was I reminded why Romero is the KING, the MASTAH! The make-up effects are AWESOME and to think he did it on so much smaller a budget than any avergae horror movie lately! The first time a firework went off, a "sky flower" and all the zombies stopped to look up at it, my sister had it nailed instantly: "That was strangely beautiful!" And the politic/social allegory that makes it uniquely Romero amongst zombie films is so well done! He makes the zombies scary and extremely sympathetic at the same time and Number Nine is now my most favoritest horror movie character! Go Number Nine! Big Daddy's pretty awesome too.

And, hm, but all of the quote that I've read so far about the Xbox 360 makes me wonder: Do we even need a next-gen yet? They fully admit graphics aren't advanced enough to justify it for better visuals, just what they can offer us in terms of service which really equals how much they can milk us for. I can't remember another time in video game history when the next-gen was forced upon us just because companies were getting greedier but then again, I am talking about Microsoft :-/

Peace, Ghani

Randomness

Oct. 12th, 2005 02:11 pm
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Big DamnSerenity spoilers ahead:

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] guttermaiden for the link to 'Serenity in 2000 Words or Less': http://www.swartzer.com/writing/serenity2000.php

FANS WHO ARE GOING TO SEE THIS AGAIN BECAUSE JOSS WHEDON IS OUR MASTER NOW: (singing along)

"Take my Book, Take my Wash, kick me right smack in the crotch,
I don't care, cause I'll still see, this film that Whedon made for me!"


BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

On a slightly stupider note, I read this in the latest issue of Star Wars Insider (and this is the EDITOR-IN-CHIEF's editorial about stormtroopers, and I'll give him that they are cool but it's no excuse for a comment like this):

"Stormtroopers. It just sounds cool, doesn't it?"

Oh, yeah, definitely, especially when HITLER was using it! There is a history to the name and a reason why Lucas picked it and I really do dispair if the editor of a the official mag isn't aware of either!

Bah!

Peace, Ghani
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I'm depressed. Heck, sez you, it's a depressing world, which is true, naturally. But what is it specifically that's got me down today? Costumes.

You see, Halloween is not just a holiday to me, it's a Holy Day (well, okay, technically the two mean the same thing, the former's a contraction but I'm being dramamtic. Don't interupt me...) and the choice of costume is an important thing. I've browsed online quite a bit, found some I'm interested in, but it wasn't until I went to our local costume store that it really started to sink in: costumes are not made for the bigger girls. I'm not saying fat, or even heavy; you couldn't fit one of my 38Ds in these teeny little tops and dresses!

Standard, it seems, is an 8 dress size; a curious choice considering that the standard for women's actual dress sizes has risen in the past handful of years. But it's not just the waist that's a concern, it's the arms (an adult Arwen costume I purchased a back in 2002 actually bruised my bicep, it was so tight!) and bust. An Elektra costume, marked as "standard, fits up to size 16" looked as if my sister, a size 4, would have had trouble fitting into it. They seem to generally be at least two sizes smaller than they claim.

And the real insult was that, it seemed the sexier the costume, the less likely it was to be available in a larger size. Some were remarkably advertising bigger sizes, like a *gasp* extra large in some cases, but they just weren't in stock.

And this isn't a thing exclusive to my podunk Halloween emporium either. Go ahead, take a looki around the internet. Know what you'll find? A sea of mediums, smalls and even a large amount of extra smalls. Larges or -Heaven forfend!- extra larges are rarer than an intact jack-o-lantern on November 1st! And when and where they can be found, they're often odd and ill fitting.

I was even disheartened to find that Torrid, the big girls' haven, had little or nothing compared to their sister company, Hot Topic, by way of Halloween costume; the store didn't even have a display and the website has almost nothing. Ooh, goth vampire. Yup, that's original and looks supisciously like something they'd sell any other day of the year in a Hot Topic related store.

I'll make due, I always do, but what a sad world we live in when so many members of the population are denied the simple pleasure of walking into a store, picking out the costume they feel suits them and wearing it proudly on THE BIG DAY. When women, voluptuous, gorgeous women are made to feel inadequate because Supergirl apparently gets her costumes at the Krypton equivalent of 5-7-9.

Peace, Ghani
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Great show, fantastic f/x and it sheds that touchy/feely Sixth Sense crap about helping the poor, evil spirits. Dean's set up in his car is one of the most wicked things I've seen in a while and the whole thing with him, at least, reminded me of early Buffy. And then there's Jared Padalecki. Not a fan. He plays boring and annoying too well. Which actually leads me to the main point of this post: Why the heck have heroes gotten so damned boring?!

Where and when did the idea come from in Hollywood that viewers, especially of fantasy and/or sci-fi, want to be the ordinary (read: boring, nagging, whinging etc.) one who doesn't want anything to do with the crazy doings around them? Right because I can escape my life enough without having a main character who whines that he's gonna miss his law school interview because he's out doing cool things, busting kick-ass ghosts, etc. Yeah, I can really identify with that. And that is SO sarcasm!

In creating Luke Skywalker, Lucas reinvented the reluctant hero, living in their backwaters part of the world, cautious to leave behind what they've always known and the people they love but ultimately accepting their destiny with grace, poise and dignity. Apparently, Hollywood has deemed this too old fashioned and created the new hero for us: the unlikable wretch. Han Solo has gained much more prestige as a hero mainly because of his anti-hero stance which seems odd because he himself steps up to it and becomes a hero beyond what he ever thought of himself capable of. Which leads me into...

Dune began a change with Dune Messiah and Children of Dune dealing with the fallout of becoming the uber-messiah but also introduced us to a hero who was more than his father could ever be, who could accept his fate with the strength his father never showed. Leto II became more than himself because he let himself be. This is postive; so when did we start going backwards?

Fast forward to 1997 to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a new hero for a new generation. Though she accepted her destiny with more reluctance than Luke, she still realized what it entailed and was surrounded by friends like Willow and Xander whose own lives were so uninteresting that they, like the viewer, were instantly sucked into that world. But Buffy itself changed as the years went on, to the point when the producers no longer understood that viewers were identifying with her because, although there were some major downsides to the whole chosen one thing, she was special. She was an ordinary girl who found she was extraordinary, one in a million. The same phenomenon is what keeps the Harry Potter gravy train rolling so why don't more producers understand that it's that factor that makes it appealing?

And here comes the new series of Doctor Who where Russell T Davies seems utterly convinced that there is no way we can identify with the Doctor save for an ordinary, modern day Earth girl, Rose, who has family and pouts a lot. The Doctor, an extraordinary character that boys all over the world wanted for years to emulate because he was special, he was unbelievable, wild, cool, has been sidelined, the neat-o companion watered down to what the production team deems the most identifiable personality. I like Rose a lot but she borders on Professional Mary Sue and I can only hope, when it's time for a change, that Mr. Davies realizes it's really time for a change.

So, my question to you is: would you rather, in a fantasy world, be the guy with the cool car, the weapons, the fake badges and credit cards who chases after ghosts or his dullard brother (who strangely seems to ignore the fact that his mother was stuck to the ceiling, cut in half and burning) that just wants to get on with his life going to law school and being completely, well, ordinary? The latter lacks the wit of a Han Solo or the conviction of a Leto II or even the pain of a Buffy. Why, Hollywood, why?!

Peace, Ghani
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Or you'd cry. In the wake of Katrina, I have seen more inexcusible examples of price gouging that is precendented (I'm right near Lousiana; about a three hour drive to the state border)! So to you, Mr. Gas Station Owner in Atlanta who is charging $7 a gallon:

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Peace, Ghani
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Some little time ago, just last month as a matter of fact, a dream of mine came true. It wasn't what you'd call a monumental thing though it seems it to me: Earth 2, the short lived scifi series which ran from November of '94 to May of '95, was released in a comprehensive, complete series DVD set. While it lacked EPK (electronic presskit) material, it does include both deleted and extended scenes and a blooper reel, both of which I wouldn't have even dared to wish for!

You see, Earth 2 affected me profoundly when it first aired and does so even more now that I've lost my parents. Earth 2 was the first and only show in my lifetime that became a "family event" to watch; we all were sat down every Sunday night at 7 (though football was usually running over into its timeslot!) to see what was going to happen next! I was devestated when word came down that it had been canceled and I cried. Yes, I cried for a tv show, something I had never done and have not done since, because it had become such an intregal and exciting part of our otherwise mundane lives. Turns out there was bloody great reason it was canceled, which I didn't know at the time, but suffice it to say, if it had gone on, it would have been as great a travesty as the second season of SeaQuest DSV (see the greatest fansite for the show on the web: http://www.earth2tv.com/ for i8nfo on what would have been a disasterous second season!)

So, the question was: would the show still have the same impact on me now, 11 years later? The answer? No. It had a completely different though no less potent impact! I was able to understand some of the emotions I hadn't before, appreciate what they were doing with the storyline and characters. Characters I didn't care for previously, I've warmed to and episodes that I've held the most viscious rancor for for these long years don't seem quite as bad now as I can isolate the elements that bother me and appreciate it as a whole. It is no longer a wham-bam scifi show (with a brain) that I watched back in the mid-90s but a carefully plotted, character-driven scifi piece that was far ahead of its time.

It's no small wonder that Browncoats (fans of Joss Whedon's Firefly/Serenity for the uninitiated) in general have fond memories of this show as it definitely comes across as a forerunner for that sort of adult scifi. It uses elements and metaphors of the Old West as the pioneers on G889 make their way across a continent to their brave new world; the American West would also provide inspiration for Firefly. Earth 2 contains a running story arc, something very rare at the time and a dangerous choice as "mythology" was generally being blamed for X-Files not nabbing enough viewers as critics believed it deserved. As a matter of fact, that would have been eliminated from a second season all together, so frightening was the idea of establishing a weekly audience who kept coming back to see the advancement of a simmering, well-developed story instead of 'Ooh, shiny special effects!'

And the F/X, well, as this was done before the digital revolution (Jurassic Park was only a year before the series debuted), its ambition has to be admired even if some of the opticals are, to our modern eye, now pretty cringe-worthy. Again, it's scope, its granduer, was far ahead of its time!

Something that is not cringe-worthy are the characters, especially the females, who seem ahead of their time now, in 2005. Beautiful but not glamorous mature women, their complex relationships with their children, their fellow pioneers, always seemed so real to me but now that I've matured more, I can appreciate it all the more! Jessica Steen as Julia as she struggles with the emotionless life she's supposed to lead (it's in her chromosomes!) while falling in love with beefcake Alonzo (Antonio Sabata Jr.), making some of the most Gawdawrful decisions as she's backed into a corner and her ultimate redemption remains to me one of the most interesting and complex female scifi character arc!

The series isn't without it's rocky bits, as a matter of fact, after a ganbusters pilot episode, the following three episode storyarc is rather dreadful and I can just picture viewers slowly turning away as it developed each week. It hits its stride immediately afterwards however with a bit of awkwardness for an ep or two but that doesn't matter in the long run. And the long run was a mere 21 episodes with one helluva cliffhanger!

So, why, with all of this going in its favor, no season 2? NBC wanted to renew, UPN wanted to pick it up after NBC ultimately passed but again the ball was dropped. Why? Stupid fucking Universal who, unhappy with the ratings it was getting, brought in a new producer who wanted to change just about everything about it. And both networks knew the proposed ideas were shite as both balked when they saw the document. In the end, it wasn't the networks' fault but the actual makers of the show; they were its ultimate downfall.

Devon and Julia were to be taken out of their leadership roles and both of their romances would have come to a halt. They would have become more "caring, warmer" whilst Yale and Morgan were to get the ax. Bess was going to sleep with anything that moved and a cute widdle Grendler was going to join the party as well as a know it all teenage cyborg. The party would get a new, male leader and all story arcs would be gone. Nothing spiritual would remain and Alonzo would have super strength. What. The. Fuck?!

So, yes, in the end, I'm happy I didn't get THAT season 2 though my heart will always be a little sad for the season 2 I could have, should have gotten. And I still have the DVDs to pop in whenever I need my Earth 2 fix which seems something of a small miracle to me!

Peace, Ghani
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Found this on The Internet Movie Database yesterday:

Ratner Spices Up 'X-Men'

Brett Ratner is spicing up the new X-Men 3 movie with the addition of his very own fantasy - a sex siren mutant who seduces her opponents rather than battles them. Ratner takes over from departing director Bryan Singer, who made the first two movies, and the Rush Hour film maker is determined to leave his mark on the comic book series. The new mutant has not yet been cast but unknowns Kate Nauta and Aya Sumika will reportedly audition. A source tells Pagesix.com the mutant will be, "An unbelievably hot and sexy hooker. Her super power is that she secretes a pheromone that helps her to seduce men. She can seduce anyone." The source adds of the auditions, "They are open to all ethnicities who are in their early-to-mid 20s."


I just... don't even know what to say. Any hope I ever had about a Singer-less sequel being watchable was just flushed down the toilet along with my bitter, bitter tears.

First off, I couldn't care less what his fantasy is, as a matter of fact it makes me feel kinda dirty. This is a movie from an established franchise with hundreds of characters to pick from and he wants to make one up, not to mention his own personal little wet dream of an underaged-looking prostitue! This isn't fucking Sin City, okay? Want to jerk off to a comic book, Mr. Ratner? They're plenty of others that would suit your needs. Get you cum the fuck off the pages of my nice, PG-13 book!

Secondly, the aforementioned hundreds of characters fans are waiting to see onscreen. Yeah, probably not gonna happen. And any hopes I had for Gambit appearing? *fllllushhhhh!* As for sexing it up (one wonders what he thought Halle Berry, Famke Janssen or certainly Rebecca Romijn were doing in the other two) I've noticed that neither Anna Paquin, who would be returning as Rogue, and Maggie Grace, who would be appearing for the first time as Kitty, are to be found on the confirmed cast list.

Thirdly, ew!

Hopefully Avi arad will have something to say about all this though I can't help but blame Jackman (gotta love him, he's so cute and sweet!) for bringing Ratner aboard in the first place. I was already dubious about him producing the movie and if he thinks this is what X-Fans want to see, my fears were just confirmed.

Peace, Ghani

EDIT: Apparently the character is canon mutant Stacy X, who I must admit, even being the X-fanatic that I am, had no clue whatsoever who she was and neither did a great many fans on the superherohype.com fanboards! All agree though: NO!
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Okay, so I'm a sucker for anything vaguely supernatural on the various "science" channels, i.e. Travel, TLC, Discovery, History etc. So, when I saw that Travel, far and away the best for specials, was debuting a new series, Most Haunted, last night, I was excited, especially when the description seemed to indicate that it focused on one particular alleged haunting per ep. When the credits came on, I got the idea of Scariest Places from the Family Channel (when it was still Fox, possibly the best "real" haunting show ever shown!) and I settled in for the night! I was appalled!

Having taken parapsychology courses (under Dr. Andrew Nichols, who can be seen in quite a few of the specials, as well as his teacher Dr. Roll, who most notably lately was in Discovery's A Haunting in Georgia), I was stunned and disgusted at their idea of what a parapsychological investigation would be; they did almost everything wrong. And they kept taking "readings." "Readings." Readings of what they never specified; was it temperature? Electro-magntetic fields? I've had a chance to handle the equipment of a "ghost hunter" and profess to having little knowledge as to either really worked. These people were worse; they barely seemed to know *why* they were doing it other than it looked really scientific! Dr. Nichols had a tendency to make fun of Sci-Fi's Ghost Hunters for their unprofessionalism; I cringe to think what he'd say about this. Each and every small noise was cause for screeching and blurred cameras as the over hyper ghost chasers ran in terror, never able to admit that nothing happened at least one!

The most embarrassing moment came when Derek the medium, quite afraid I'm sure that all of his posturing was really coming to nothing, was "possessed" and proceeded to utter a Dalek-like, deep throated "Con-FRON-TA-TTTIIIOOON!" I was in hysterics. Not good for a show only a half an hour into the first episode!

How depressing I find it to see that this is what ghost entertainment has stooped to (Oh, where are you MTV's Fear, or Family's Scariest Places?!) and that this is the impression the public is getting of paranormal investigators: unscientific, unprofessional, sensationalistic hacks dolling it up for the cameras.

Peace, Ghani
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Many spoilers to follow:
It was the middle of last year when rumors started to surface of Padme's fate: That Anakin was going to kill her, Force-strangle her and throw her against the wall as nothing more than a rag doll. Some fans felt this wasn't far enough for Ani to descend, that he should rape her to conceive the twins; then, he would truly be "badass" and "kewl." Ew. Meanwhile, we few, we proud PT fans had an adverse reaction. After the tender love story, the devotion he'd shown, how could he commit such a heinous act?! And then it turned out to be true, though not exactly in the way it had been described, and the fur really started to fly. 'It's totally out of character! It's what Lucas believes is best but I can't see it!' On both Anakin and Padme fandom fronts, a cry went up: "How could he?"

I've been completely and utterly spoiled, I've read every bit of information from every official source that I could. And I've come to believe that it is absolutely perfect for what Lucas was trying to achieve!

You see, in the OT, Vader is a figure of fear, of loathing: He tortures his daughter, among countless others; kills indiscriminately in the name of the Empire; wounds and makes ready to kill his own son, fully aware of his parentage this time, if he does not join him in ruling the galaxy. And there's the crux of it: The same choice he offers Padme and that she rejects, blindly trying to bring him back to anything rational. She can't. Luke can't, not until the end of the next movie when Vader kills the Emperor, not to atone for his countless sins, not to put the galaxy to rights, but to save the only person who unconditionally loves him. Because, as Lucas himself points out, children teach us to love unconditionally, something Anakin could not even grasp when he had a hold on Padme and covetously sought to hold on to her forever.

Not that it has to do with love. Lucas is very careful to point out that it is fairly early in the picture that Anakin's lust for Padme turns into his lust for power and knowledge. Under the guise of "saving" his beloved, he will become all powerful. This may be terribly hard to swallow for those who have loyally followed Anakin's journey through the course of the past two movies but it is in no way out of character. Think of all the world leaders who started out *just wanting to do good* and where they ended up- a mild example being the fact that Robespierre was ardently against the introduction of the guillotine in the senate as he claimed, one could say foresaw, that it would become to quick, to easy to execute criminals. He ended up wearing the machine's likeness on his cuff-links as a sign of his power.

Padme said it herself in AtoC: That living the lie would destroy them both and so, it seems, it has. While whispers of Palpatine's counsel are definitely darkening his heart, the twists and turns are already there, laid out by the first two movies of the PT. It was anger that slaughtered an entire tribe of Tusken Raiders, not love; love is never a justifiable rationing for indiscriminate killing.

As for Padme's part, is it believable that a strong character with an even stronger sense of self would lose herself in this. Completely. She did the moment she married him, knowing full well the implications. They are a young couple, their thoughts are in the here and now, not how everything is going to work in the long run. I must admit, I was sorry to see the senate petition side story go as it's a vital part of the forming of Palpatine's opposition as well as a part of the story that would involve Padme at work.

But does the movie work without it? In a word, yes. Treason is a perfectly understandable reason for Anakin to suspect Padme but a young man's inherent sexual jealousy and need for possession is much more potent, in my opinion. It's an extremely instinctual biological thing as the rash young man he is to want her to himself, whether that envy materializes in suspicions over her activity in the senate or her alleged closeness with Obi Wan. It's not necessarily that he believes that Padme and Obi Wan are creeping, it's that urge to possess, an almost animalistic pissing contest with any male that comes close to her.

And Padme's broken heart: Chauvinistic plot device or melodrama at its height? She could not survive this movie, not without a mention as to her fate in the OT (and anyone who thinks that lies in Leia's recollections in RotJ are adding too much with their own imaginations); I would not leave her to the EU nor would I want her death to be off-screen. Do people die of broken hearts? My father did, last year three months after my mother passed on; he lost his will. Is he excused from his fatherly duties of looking after his mentally ill daughter because he is male and therefore didn't have the same drive that a mother would have? Now which is the chauvinistic assumption? She knows the twins are safe and cannot bear living out something she believes -knows- that she helped to create, even with the best of intentions: love.

So, the ultimate question lies not in whether we find it sympathetic or the right thing, but that, as terrible as it is, it is still realistic. I for one applaud Lucas for taking this very risky path, of sticking to his guns that darkness is, in fact EVIL and not cool, that it is a destructive, unfeeling entity. That Anakin became that entity.

Peace, Ghani

EDIT, Post-RotS: Watching the movie, I understood the most fundamental reason of all when it comes to the choices Lucas made concerning Padme's death: She could not, for the stories sake die of physical wounds because that was what Anakin misguidedly was trying to protect her from in the first place. His vision would have been true and some would argue that it would be more fateful if he indeed caused with his actions the very thing he feared most. To me, it's more tragic that it was indeed his actions that caused her death but not in the straight-forward way of damaging her physically, but wounding her spiritually and emotionally with the choices he was making in her name. It is still a self-fulfilling prophecy but not one that Anakin could ever have dreamed of nor can he, in his new Sith state, ever understand it.

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Jean: A Legend In My Own Mind

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