July 8th, 2003

smokin'

When you have no funny subject title, just admit it

Haven't posted for a while. The usual reasons. It's late. Have a lot of useless and semi-useless stuff to throw down. Why the clipped sentences? I haven't been reading James Ellroy's White Jazz, so I can't explain it, to be honest. Tired. Late. Fingers hurt. Here's the latest round up of whatever the hell. Sure to be typos. It's late.

Item 1) Update on Mullins the kitten. Sarah probably covered this, but I haven't been on-line lately and forgot to check her blog. Anyway, the good news is that Sarah found a home for the little guy, a friend of a friend. We transferred the cute little devil on July 4th and kinda miss him. But he's got a home (and is keeping his name, apparently), and our own four nutjob cats are starting to calm down. Having a crybaby kitten in the bathroom made them all nutty. I still occasionally look into the yard expecting to see the Little Girl. Can't wait to see what happens when a human being I care about actually dies. Ain't life grand.

Item 2) The Thing #4 is almost done. To quote the titular character, "Sheesh". #3 went to the printer this past week.

Item 3) The Dork trade has also finally gone to the printer, and should be out in several weeks, depending on whether or not pre-San Diego con traffic holds it up at Quebecor. Since Sarah and I won't be attending San Diego, the Dork trade isn't a priority, they'll need books for the folks who will be at the show. Even so, there's a chance the book will print next week and if so SLG might try to fed ex some copies of it for the convention, so stop by the booth and take a look-see, if you're of a mind to.

Item 4) A vole found its way into our house last week. Mimsy beat the crud out of it, and Crushy tossed it into the air with one paw. All while Sarah was trying to get the poor little shrieking thing out the front door with a broom. Where was I during the fracas? Up the stairs a bit, practicing being a useless wuss. I did manage to get the cats off the vole, but Sarah beared the brunt of rescuing it. I am such a pussy, it really is something to behold, you should see my "there's a spider" shriek.

Item 5 or 6, I don't remember or care) Tri-staters in the NYC area -- check out the Exhumed films site, exhumed.com or .org or whatever the hell. Upcoming double feature screening planned in August of Ichi the Killer and Versus, the zombie gangster craze-a-thon that was discussed here a little while back. Ichi the Killer's supposed to be nuts and gorey, haven't seen it yet, but Sarah and I are thinking of seeing this twin bill of Japanese ill.

Item whatever comes next) Geln Jones had Nick Foley on for an entertainign hour of talk earlier tonight, Jonesville Station is the show, WFMU.org is the site where they archive it all. Check out Tom Scharpling's Tuesday nite comedy/music shows as well as PRofessor Dum Dum's metal whacko program. Some retruning FMU shows for the summer include an hour of old broadcasts of various deejays and the Professor's Audio Kitchen, an oft-times fascinating hour of found sound, tapes picked up in thrift shops of people singing, commenting on road trips, recovered phone messages, drunken outings caught on tape, ill-advised love letters on tape, etc. Odd stuff.

Item about comics, blah blah blah) The Chaland Collection volume 2 shipped recently, a very sweet package. I had this in French, as it turns out, so now I can read the two stories and the supplemetary material. Gorgeous design and artwork, the stories seem more realized than volume one here, but who knows. I'm sold on Chaland.

A new Astro Boy also came out, I think they ship these every three days. Here's a quick gripe: why is it that these Tezuka books are $10, but the other similar DHC Tezuka releases are several dollars more expensive? I understand that books sell more or less based on popularity, and AB is well-known, I could see Metrolpis being a buck or two more, but $4 or so more? That's nuts, esp. when Tokyopop is killing with $10 books, and Viz is matching that price. Anyway, I don't wanna knock DHC too much, my editors there were swell enough to send us a few freebies, and we scored the Annie Fanny volumes along with some other swag. Fanny isn't the greatest strip on earth, it's dated and overworked and a bit stiff (no pun intended), but it's Kurtzman and Elder, and the art is often top-notch, so I'm there. And for free, this time, whoopie!

I also received some recent Marvel and DC comics from a friend of mine the other day. All I can say is, um...uh...yeesh. Not only were the books all terrible, there was barely anything to them. I'm a slow reader, and I polished off about ten of them in fifteen minutes. The Marvel books flew by faster than an an issue of Cerebus, with ten pages torn out. Does anybody even try to write a story or a compelling part of a story in a 22 pager anymore? I mean, even a chunk of something to sink your teeth into? I know, it's the new, "cinematic style" of storytelling (i.e., writers nosing scripts along at a snail's pace so they can write five books a month, artists designing open pages so they can sell the original art more easily and get the job done faster, said "art" being drawn with less detail so the digital colorist can fill it all in with airbrushing and blurring effects that emulate film, etc) -- and it'll read better in the trades, right? Well, not the garbage I read. These pen and ink debacles wouldn't read better in the Bahamas with an open bar and a free massage. I'm not kidding, after I read these comics I got really depressed. Looking through Previews kind of depressed, if you know what I mean.

Item after last) Sarah got me a belated birthday present, the Kino Video Art of Buster Keaton DVD boxed set. 11 features, 19 shorts, 3 and half hours of supplemental material. I love her.

Another item) Last night after a family deal we plopped down on the couch and had us a Brit-flick horror double feature. First up, the aformentioned 28 Days Later.

SLIGHT SPOILERS.

Terrible title, comes off like a teen romance flick. Anyway, I liked it, with a few reservations. Felt the tunnel scene was a bit unbelievable -- why the heck did they attempt to pass through it, haven't they ever read the Stand or Day of the Triffids in England? Cars pile up, tunnels bad. Especially when the enemy thrives in darkness. Tunnel. Bad. It turns out deleted scenes set up why the heroes chance the tunnel, but I'm still not buying the ridiculous sequence where the father drives over the abandoned cars like he's some Dukes of Hazzard reject. The entire scene is a cheat, you can't believe the taxi is actually going to make it over the cars without slipping, it's a dumb, cartoon-logic sequence in a film that sells the rest of it's ideas rather smartly. Sure, it sets up a tense bit with the oncoming Infected, but it's just too dumb and there could have been a smoother way to make that happen. Similarly, England's roads seem curiously empty of abdnadone cars, save for that tunnel. Again, there are apparently deleted scenes of cars choking the streets, but it makes for additonal awkwardness. Otherwise, I really didn't care for the excessive use of the erratic shaky-cam stuff, which I'm not a fan of, by and large. Many of the action scenes resembled a Gatorade commercial, and there were many instances where I felt lost for several shots until a master shot revealed what just happened, or who it happened to. I don't like being manipulated that way, I prefer when directors earn tension and scares and don't just crank the sound or move the camera in so close and refuse to put in geographical cues so you're left with rottless scenes of flailing arms and water splashing and blood flying and then cuts and more cuts and then you find out who's left alive because they're the only one standing when the sequence is over. Sometimes it worked, most often it was just irritating. On the other hand, some of the camera work is really nice, some shots are very Kurosawa-like (Pulse and Chaos guy, not Throne of Blood dead guy, eerie, beautiful stuff. I liked the actors, I liked the dialogue and the general storytelling, the basic but interesting plot moved well and concentrated on the social breakdown (ala Romero's zombie flicks) rather than the exploitative stuff (ala Fulci gutmuncher zombie goofiness), and even though a lot of it was sorta familiar (Romero's Crazies, Cronenberg's plague stuff, Dawn of the Dead's military under pressure, Return of the Living Dead's hyper shrieking corpses, Last Man of Earth/Omega Men safety in the daytime plague scenario, Day of the Triffids-type hero disaster survivor, I enjoyed it. Now there's an awkward sentance, sorry, never said I was as film reviewer, just a jerk with a blog and a DVD player.

Second feature was a terrible VHS copy of Horror Hotel, orig title, City of the Dead. A really nifty little witchcraft flick I first saw about twenty yrs ago or so at the Thalia in NYC. I liked it then and liked it even better this time around. Low-budget, but shot nicely on creepy, moody sets, with striking camera work and set-ups, the sort of cheap flick that manages a nice, creepy effect from the cheapness, like Night of the Living Dead or Carnival of Souls. Like those films it has a sort of nightmare quality to it, there are strange moments and a few subtle, jarring creep-out scenes, and a really nice finale. One interesting thing about the film is that there are several similarities to Psycho, which came out the same year. Anyway, a neat little horror movie, cheap copies apparently available in bargain sections of Best Buy and whatnot, often packaged with other films. There'sa DVD with extras. as well. Christopher Lee is in it, btw, for you Hammer fans out there.

Yikes. I don't post often, but when I do, it's a knucklebuster. I leave you with this final thought at 5 am --

Y'know how I'll know I'm successful? When the entire house is air-conditioned. Damn, it's hot in here.