August 2003 posts

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September 2003

"Prophecy Girl" Revisited -- Darby, 18:17:59 08/29/03 Fri

Last episode of Season One - and as far as they knew, since the whole season had been shot before it began airing, perhaps the last episode ever of this strange, weirdly-titled midseason show. But Joss got his directing shot, which is why he took the job anyway.

In the opening sequence, the stake Buffy uses looks an awful lot like Mr Pointy.

I seem to be in the minority here, but I thought the Master was pretty interesting for, y'know, a guy stuck in a hole.

Buffy's "terrible fate" is Biology - but that won't be til next season. Gotta watch those mating rituals...

Someone should compile or, I dunno, annotate all of the times the characters have used "having a thing" to duck out of something.

Xander to Buffy: "Willow's not looking to date you. Or if she is she's playing it pretty close to the chest." And it was funny, because it wasn't like Willow liked girls or anything...

The scripted show had more portents - after Buffy rejects Xander, there's supposed to be a shower of stones. And Jenny's list is given as all occuring "within three miles of here."

Is it just me, or is the prom dress fairly unattractive? It does look quite a bit like a sacrificial robe, though, and maybe that's the point.

Great Buffy - Joyce scene.

A scene where the Annoying One visits Angel at home and tells him to stay out of the way is cut, no loss - except it's implied that the Master can do something nasty to Angel that Angel's unaware of.

When Buffy visits Willow and decides to act and die, there is supposed to be some indication that Willow can pick up, some finality, but it doesn't seem to be there.

Lost amid all of the Buffy stuff, there are some very good Xander moments, especially when he fetches Angel (if you can forget the "stop looking at my neck" bit).

In the script, when Willow figures out that the center of action could be the Bronze, Giles tells Jenny and Willow to go - into what will be great danger, although it turns out to be closer. In the actual episode, Jenny volunteers them to go.

When did the vampires decide they were extras from Night of the Living Dead?

The psychic "reeling in" of Buffy by the Master is not in the script - probably an oversight, since the later not-quite-so-successful attempt is there.

The Master bites Buffy and she collapses, but she drowns. Does this mean that many times, when folks go limp and drop from vamp bites, they're just unconscious?

Trivia: CPR is something that actors purposely have to do wrong, because doing it right on a healthy person may cause their heart to fail. Not really an issue here, since the stage directions call for the act to be "terribly chaste and tasteful".

Resurrected Buffy feels strong...different. And grimmer. Weren't we all figuring that would pay off at some time in the future?

And how did she know where the Master was?

And what was he doing on the roof? Being the Watcher to a big Hellmouthy Slayer?

A little bit of schtick was lost - Xander, with a stake and cross, tosses the wrong one to Angel.

The way the Master drops through the library, the table point should have been more protological than coronary-bound.

The music, which so far this season hasn't bothered me as much as it has others, is significantly, noticably better in this episode.

Buffy, standing looking at the ex-Master, is supposed to have a powerful momentary meltdown in the script.

The overlapping dialogue at the end is cute, although the group goes out as a group, giving Willow a chance to say, "You can come with us, Angel. Get something to drink. Or, no...don't do that. Just hang out." But they rearanged it to get another dress comment in.

I'm taken by the many acceptance stories embedded in this episode. The most obvious one is Buffy's acceptance of her role. But Willow comes to accept that Xander is lost to her romantically, as Xander accepts the same about Buffy. Jenny is accepted by Giles into the group (and by the others, eventually). Angel accepts the active role that will be his future with the group. Even Cordelia seems to be accepting Kevin as something more than an accessory, and Willow as sort-of an equal. Giles, though, rejects the prophecy as well as his role as Watcher. But of all of the acceptings, Buffy comes closest to reversing in season 2.

One more thing - in my obsessive need to match the story of Buffy with the story of Joss, I wonder if the extended downtime between first and second season made him unwilling to get back into the swing of the show the second year, a parallel to When She Was Bad. I was listening to Andrew Bergman being interviewed today, and he cited tv as the only thing that makes movie-making seem reasonable. Did Joss think better of his commitment, or was he worried that he couldn't live up to the buzz the show had generated? Or am I completely insane?

Next week - the Movie! C'mon, you know you want to!

[> Re: "Prophecy Girl" Revisited -- CW, 20:30:00 08/29/03 Fri

Is it just me, or is the prom dress fairly unattractive? It does look quite a bit like a sacrificial robe, though, and maybe that's the point.

I sort of like the dress, although I couldn't figure out why they picked yellow which looks white in many of the shots, anyway. My best guess is they wanted white, but thought that was pushing the sacrificial robe business a bit far. I am also amazed at the fabric. It drags through the sewer and the hem never gets dirty, also the bodice looks pretty tidy considering Buffy's nose dive into the puddle. Maybe it was just the stringent polution controls the vamps had their parts of the sewer system.

The way the Master drops through the library, the table point should have been more proctological than coronary-bound,

So that's why the bones survived! The secret and never repeated, other way to kill a vampire.

It's an episode I really enjoyed on first showing. Willow's wimpy breakdown didn't quite ring true at the time. If had happened back around The Harvest it would have been more believable. Odd that the tv room was the site of the personal attack that made Buffy change her mind. There were plenty of better season finales to come, but it did make me want to see more.

[> Re: "Prophecy Girl" Revisited -- sdev, 07:52:24 08/31/03 Sun

And how did she know where the Master was?

I have wondered throughout the series about some extra ill defined and uncanny slayer ability which made frequent unexplained appearances. In Chosen, for instance, what special power did only Buffy and Faith feel in holding the Scythe?

Clearly Buffy had super-charged hearing so maybe that was the explanation here, or not.

Prophecy Girl is one of Xander's finest moments in which he demonstrates that heroic begins in strength of heart not strength of hand. In contrast, Angel does not come off too well here, and he shows just where his developmental journey needs to go. It is a turning point for Angel. He might have expressed commitment to Whistler in the flashback scene in Becoming, but those were words. His real commitment to helping The Slayer begins here.

I liked the dress by the way.

[> Re: "Prophecy Girl" Revisited -- skpe, 13:02:50 08/31/03 Sun

Do you think if a group of us went to josses house and chanted MOVIE! MOVIE! it would do any good? :)

[> [> Well... -- Alison, 14:07:57 08/31/03 Sun

since I think Darby was talking about the original movie, probably not. Joss would spit on us, and then go weep from creative anguish.
But as for a movie that doesn't make his head hurt...we'd probably be better off petitioning SMG.

More on Noir (heads up, s'kat!) -- Valheru, 23:36:09 08/29/03 Fri

Lavery & Wilcox's Slayage #9 is up today. One in particular (which I've yet to finish, alas, but I wanted to bring to everyone's attention) deals significantly with Angel's Noirish conventions. It's Stacey Abbott's Walking the Fine Line Between Angel and Angelus, and I think it's a fine companion piece to shadowkat's recent Noir essays in the archives.

I also found C. W. Marshall's Aeneas the Vampire Slayer: A Roman Model for Why Giles Kills Ben to be noteworthy, for those of you still struggling with Giles' decision in The Gift (though Marshall's assumption that readers will be familiar with the finer points of the Aeneid leaves some of his comparisons hollow).

Here's the URL:

[> I revised that Fatals essay, if anyone wants me to post revised version let me know. -- s'kat, 10:12:52 08/30/03 Sat

It has numbered paragraphs, a film bibliography and everything. Also is revised to include Chosen which hadn't aired when I first wrote it.


Yippie! I've got Fray 1-8 on pre-order! -- Sheri, 10:58:51 08/30/03 Sat

Off to check the mailbox on an hourly bases (never mind that the thing doesn't come out until November).

I would have LURVED to have gotten the hard-cover edition.. but at nearly $80, that's a bit rich for my blood. But if anybody decides to order it, please post some pictures, so we can all admire :)

[> Okay, Sheri, I've Googled 'til I'm blue in the face! -- dub ;o), 17:27:02 08/30/03 Sat

Now, just where did you pre-order it from? Please?


[> Here..... -- Rufus, 17:32:58 08/30/03 Sat

Things from Another World

[> [> Thanks! I just sent in my order too! :) -- jane, 18:41:51 08/30/03 Sat

[> ooo, jealous now! -- LadyStarlight, 19:52:55 08/30/03 Sat

I'm down on my knees hoping that the Science Fiction Book Club will offer a Club edition.

(pleasepleasepleaseplease! ;))

Classic Movie of the Week - August 31st 2003 - Guilty Pleasures / Buried Treasures Part V -- OnM, 21:04:39 08/31/03 Sun


The days slide by
Should have done, should have done, we all sigh
Never thought I'd ever be so lonely
After such a long, long time
Time out of mind
We made mad love
Shadow love
Random love
And abandoned love
Accidentally, like a martyr
The hurt gets worse and the heart gets harder

............ Warren Zevon


But blood makes noise
It's a ringing in my ear
Blood makes noise
And I can't really hear you
In the thickening of fear

............ Suzanne Vega


I always know that the end of summer is fast approaching in my particular latitude because I can hear it. Oh, I can
smell it and see it and sense it in a variety of ways, but sound has always held a fascination for me that rivals the
visual, and long before the leaves start to turn and the weather turns for the cooler, I start to notice the cicadas
chirping away.

I live in the city, so the bugs that frequent my neighborhood are a bit more type-restricted that out in the
countryside. We pretty much get the hardier species, the ones that are versatile, adaptable, not in the need for a
particular name brand of plant (or other) life to sustain their existence. We have your basic flies, yellowjackets,
and ants. We have mostly plain olí funky moths and the occasional butterfly who made a wrong turn at
Albuquerque. There are spiders and millipedes and of course waterbugs and their big nasty possible cousins, the
cockroaches. If the weather has been extra-specially rainy as it has been this year, we will also have skeeters
everywhere. And, in the summer, when the bug liviní is easy no matter where you are, city or country, we also get
fireflies and cicadas.

For some reason-- I guess itís part of their normal life cycle and all (not a bug man myself, so only guessing)-- the
cicadas really start to get persistently noisy here in late August, just about the time the vacation memories are
fading and people finally stop complaining about the heat (even though itís still quite toasty most days). Last night,
I was watching Prophecy Girl again, and after I finished the revisit and switched off the TV set, there was
the sound of them chirping away-- I could still hear it softly even through the walls of the house.

The sound inevitably conjures a feeling if I let it, no matter how many times I hear it. Itís something primal from
childhood, like the first time you hear that hushed quietude after a big snowfall and the world suddenly seems
transformed into something... well, otherworldly. Perhaps I remember that school was soon starting up
again and that the summer had vanished so quickly, with so much freedom left unrealized, that the sound evokes a
type of melancholy not so much bitter as regretful. Each year as Iíve gotten older, late August arrives with its
persistent insect chorus and the sense of life underlived and desires undone returns in force at least once, although
in most cases I filter my reaction by instinctively distracting myself. On the one hand, autumn is often very lovely in
the Northeast, a treat for the visual senses and cool and restful on the skin after the sweaty nights on the clingy
sheets of June and July.

On the other hand, autumn leads to winter, which is pretty much about death, or at at least dormancy. Yeah, I
know, cycle of life and all that stuff, canít have spring without winter, blahdee-blah-blah. Iíve noticed that those
with adequate financial means just move south for the duration. Then, when summer returns with all its heat and
drama, they move back up north. I suppose that the otherworldly nature of that first quiet snowfall disappeared
when they discovered that the snow needs to be moved before the local government issues a fine for not clearing
the sidewalk, and the chirping of the cicadas became best appreciated with the accompaniment of the steady hum
of an air conditioner.

Itís all too easy to get swept up in an attractive visual image, or allow a certain sound to take you back to a more
innocent time in your life. But seductive sights and beguiling musics can just be a cover for many darker
happenings, and itís good to temper your instincts with a little preemptive reason. When you can, of course.

Along those lines, most people who have already seen this weekís Classic Movie, Blood
, by brothers Joel and Ethan Coen, recall it for its decidedly inspired visual imaginings and I
certainly do not beg to differ. However, one of the joys of recently aquiring the DVD reissue of the film was to
hear what a marvelous soundtrack it has, and how the sound acts to evoke oneís feelings in a way every bit as
powerful as the images on the screen. I talk a bit more about that subject later, but first hereís some info about
the unusual suspects:

Since this is the type of movie that really suffers from the issuance of even modest spoilers, Iíll try not to give
anything crucial away. The basic story itself is very straightforward-- a sleazy bar owner by the name of Marty
(played by Dan Hedaya) conspires to have his wife and her lover murdered, and hires an even sleazier private
detective (M. Emmet Walsh) to do the job. Not unexpectedly, since the very opening scenes of the film pretty
much provide us with a clear glimpse of the detectiveís (lack of) character, a double-cross soon takes place and
the detective tries to get away clean with the money.

ëCleaní isnít a word that can be properly associated with what happens, however. The Coen brothers have
stated that the filmís title is a descriptive reference to what they think represents the emotional/logical state of
mind of someone when they commit a murder. That is, itís all about power, exemplified in its most elemental,
what-benefits-me-the-most and all-else-be-damned animalistic outlook. The rawness of this feeling is
metaphorically illustrated by the generous amounts of blood that appear regularly once the murder has been
committed and for the time after, defying the best attempts of all the involved parties to clean it up.

One of the many levels of clever writing and direction in Blood Simple is a counterpoint to this attitude
that deconstructs the idea of elementary greed as the only operative value in plotting someoneís death. There is, in
fact, a range of situations depicted, all of them initially presented with sufficient ambiguity in terms of the choices
that could be made, but somehow what does occur leaves us with a feeling of inevitability when we look back
upon it later. Does one prior action force the occurrence of the ensuing one, is choice an illusion? Is it
impossible to distance oneself from emotional events sufficiently to make a ërationalí choice when time gets closed
down to mere moments and you know something has to be done, but only ëinstinctí raises a hand?

This film seems to argue that instinct is fundamentally untrustworthy, even when the motivations may start out with
the best of intentions. Take, for example, the two lovers, Ray and Abby. (John Getz and Frances McDormand).
They donít even start out with the intention of becoming lovers, it just sort of happens. In the opening scenes of
the film, Ray is driving Abby away from the town where she and Marty have been living as husband and wife. It is
the dead of night, pouring rain, and pitch black except for the occasional headlight of an approaching car as they
travel through the desert. Abby is wondering aloud why Ray is doing this for her. Is he truly just being a
gentleman, trying to help her escape the clutches of the obviously disturbed Marty? Or is there something else?

The answer would seem to be the platonic one, even though Ray freely admits that he has always liked Abby, but
then something happens. Abby calls out loudly for Ray to stop the car, and it screeches to a halt. A pair of
headlights that might have been following them stops also, and after a few tense seconds, the vehicle
slowly pulls out around them and travels on. Somehow-- instinct maybe? -- Ray and Abby feel that
someone could be watching them. If they are correct (and they are, as we find out very soon), then common
sense would insist that they should keep a platonic relationship platonic.

Ahh, but on the other hand, to be suspected of a crime is the same as having done it, in the minds
of many people. After all, there is a reason that the concept of ëinnocent until proven guiltyí was such a radical
legal concept in its day. To Marty, thinking about an extramarital affair is just a precursor to engaging in one.
What will happen has already happened, it just depends where youíre sitting on the entire timeline of events.
Also, Marty implies in a conversation with Ray that he suspects Abby of cheating on him before, and playing the
innocent about it when questioned. From our perspective, we are presented with zero evidence that this is
actually the case, and in fact the ultimate resolution of the movie would seem to back up this idea.

So, forget common sense here-- Abby (and Ray for that matter) must subconsciously realize that they have
already been judged and convicted. Thus if they are ëguiltyí, then why not just go with it? If the level of trust has
degraded to a point where it is necessary to have them under surveillance, the old relationship is already damaged
beyond repair. Abbyís decision to seek a new life in a new town, away from her former husband is reinforced,
not restrained. She clearly likes Ray, and he likes her. Motel time. And, of course, bad idea. On the first light of
morning after the tryst, the phone in the motel room rings, and a still-groggy Ray picks it up, only to hear Martyís
unmistakable voice on the other end of the line.

We gain a lot of empathy for Ray in the next few scenes, since he bravely and resolutely tries to ëdo the right
thingí by openly acknowledging what has happened in a meetup with Marty. As expected, Marty isnít too
pleased, but he doesnít become physically violent, only demands that Ray get the hell away from him and leave
town, which Ray already planned to do anyway. If only things had remained at this more rational state of affairs,
nothing that follows would have occurred, but Martyís failure to use violence personally doesnít mean he wonít
be willing to subcontract the job. He has no illusions that Abby will ever return to him, but neither can he stand to
let her go. The fact that she is clearly making a move ëupscaleí with her new association with Ray is only the
additional twist of the knife.

Re-enter the private detective (who, by the way, is never referred to by actual name even once in the dialog,
although the name ëLorení is shown engraved on the side of a cigarette lighter he brandishes on several
occasions) who happily offers to up the ante from surveillance to wetwork in exchange for $10,000. Marty is
directed to ëgo fishingí for a few days while the deed is done.

At this point, as promised, I wonít reveal any further details, except to note that everything that follows is both
perfectly logical, seemingly inevitable, and usually not what you expect to have happen. The startlingly clever and
beautifully designed camera shots just keep on coming, one after the other, making the film into a novel visual
adventure that fully equals and supports the intensity of the storyline. Watching this movie and its assured sense of
style makes my mind reel at the idea that this was the very first feature film outing for the Coens, although they
both did have prior experience in the film industry in other areas. Also, the budget was apparently a shoestring
deal, making the end results even more impressive for the degree of professionalism shown.

In addition, the sound and musical cues are just as brilliantly rendered as the camera work, something that I never
realized until my recent aquisition of the DVD release. (I never had the chance to see the film in a real theater,
only on pay cable and on a subsequent tape made from that airing.) The director and his sound crew clearly have
a finely tuned understanding of just how much little sonic details add both to the overall atmosphere and to the
specific punctuation of certain scenes. One of my favorites in this regard was the inspired way the normally
cliched use of the ëceiling fan swoopí sound was bent and transmuted into a sound more like a heartbeat, a
technique used several times in the picture and always perfectly cued to the emotional moment of the scene.

Another very cool use of a musical cue was a short clip from the very unusual (and strangely compelling)
ìRamayana Monkey Chantî, which for some reason I didnít see noted in the music section of the end credits, but
recognized from having heard the full version on a regional folk music program many times over the years. This
lengthy, syncopated chant is performed by a large group of men from the isle of Bali, and is an ancient tradition
used to tell a story involving the driving away of evil spirits. As such, this has to be one of the most obscure-- and
apt-- musical references ever placed in any film, but there it is. If I wore a hat, I would surely doff it to these guys.

Hat or not, put yours on if need be and hie on down to the local video shoppe and do rent or buy this marvelous
film. I do want to say a few words about the nature of the beast first, however, as fair warning. Every year so far
at this same time, while doing the GP/BT thang, I select a film that involves the depiction of violence of some kind,
and fairly bloody violence at that. (Last year, for example, I picked David Cronenbergís Videodrome,
and in 2001 it was Brian Yuznaís Return of the Living Dead III).

I do wish to caution those who have not seen this film that it contains some very disturbing images, and unlike
those commonly seen in the science-fiction, fantasy or horror genres, these are far more realistic and so tend to
be harder to dismiss from oneís mind. While there is a certain degree of (very) dark humor wrapped around
some of the events that take place, itís extremely subtle, operating more on a purely ironic level than of a type
designed to provoke any kind of ëcomic reliefí to the more dramatic events. So, please keep this in mind,
especially where viewing by children is concerned-- the R rating is very justified.

As someone once remarked, ìIt always has to be bloodî. Personally, I might (and more commonly do) take issue
with that, but in the case of this particular cinematic buried treasure, I agree that blood will tell. (Cue ceiling fan...)

Swoop.... swoop... swoop.... swooop.... swooooop..... swooooooop.... swoooooooop....

E. Pluribus Cinema, Unum,



Technical red noise:

Blood Simple is available on DVD, which was also the format of the review copy. The film was released
in 1984 and the runtime is 1 hour and 37 minutes. The original cinematic aspect ratio was 1.85:1, which was
preserved on the DVD version.

Screenwriting credits go to Ethan & Joel Coen. The film was produced by Daniel F. Bacaner, Ethan Coen and
Mark Silverman. The cinematography was by Barry Sonnenfeld with film editing by Ethan Coen (as Roderick
Jaynes), Joel Coen (also as Roderick Jaynes) and Don Wiegmann. Production design was by Jane Musky, and
costume design was by Sara Medina-Pape. Original Music was by Carter Burwell & Jim Roberge. The original
theatrical sound mix was in ëUltra Stereoí.

Cast overview:

John Getz .... Ray
Frances McDormand .... Abby
Dan Hedaya .... Marty
M. Emmet Walsh .... The Detective
Samm-Art Williams .... Meurice
Deborah Neumann .... Debra
Raquel Gavia .... Landlady
Van Brooks .... Man from Lubbock
SeÒor Marco .... Mr. Garcia
William Creamer .... Old cracker
Loren Bivens .... Strip-bar exhorter
Bob McAdams .... Strip-bar exhorter
Shannon Sedwick .... Stripper
Nancy Finger .... Girl on overlook
William Preston Robertson .... Radio evangelist (voice)
Holly Hunter .... Helene Trend (uncredited) (voice)
Barry Sonnenfeld .... Marty's vomiting (uncredited) (voice)


Miscellaneous Dept:

When you give each other everything, it becomes an even trade. Each wins all.

............ Lois McMaster Bujold

I finally got a chance to sit down and watch Steven Soderberghís Solaris last night, and I have to say that
I think this is the best film of the year to date, and furthermore, it may be one of the best films of the last 10 years.
The DVD release also contains a very interesting commentary track by Soderbergh and producer James
Cameron, and I noted with great interest Cameronís statement that Solaris is much more like the (literary)
science fiction of the 50ís and 60ís than the more common current cinematic crop with lots of flashy action and
over-zealous (and empty) special effects. (Iím paraphrasing, but that was the gist). Heís quite right, and as far as
Iím concerned, itís way overdue. The best SF has always had the ability to really present the great questions of
human existence in terms that not only encompass humanityís past, but also its future. Solaris is an
intensely thoughtful, and thought-provoking film, and I loved the way that, like Whedonís Buffyverse, the big
issues are presented scaled down and morphed into a form that we can intellectually and emotionally engage and
identify with.

George Clooney and the rest of the cast are simply marvelous, and Soderbergh just absolutely nails the correct
technical balance whereby the costumes, sets and CGI fully complement and support the story without trying to
take it over. I have scanned some of the various reviews of this film, and I must admit I am at a total loss as to
those who think it was ëself-indulgentí, or boring, or ëlifelessí. This is a movie that, over the passage of time, I
think will come to be ranked with Kubrickís 2001. Now, Iím gonna have to go out and get the previous
film version of this Stanislaw Lem story (which Iíve never read, BTW) to study the contrasts between the two.
So, wow, what else can I say?


Those of you who are fans of singer/songwriter Warren Zevon already know that last year, Zevon was diagnosed
with inoperable lung cancer, and given about three months to live by his doctors. He still has cancer, but heís also
still here with us a whole year later, confounding the dire predictions, and will release a new album very soon (it
may already even be out). All of which made for a good reason to start off the column this week with a few
Zevon lyrics, sez me.

Hereís a few more, just because I feel like it:

I had the shit till it all got smoked
I kept the promise till the vow got broke
I had to drink from the lovin' cup
I stood on the banks till the river rose up
I saw the bride in her wedding gown
I was in the house when the house burned down

I may be old and I may be bent
But I had the money till it all got spent
I had the money till they made me pay
Then I had the sense to be on my way
I had to stay in the underground
I was in the house when the house burned down

I was in the house when the house burned down
I met the man with the thorny crown
I helped Him carry his cross through town
I was in the house when the house burned down

I had the shit till it all got smoked
I kept the promise till the vow got broke
I had to drink from the lovin' cup
I stood on the banks till the river rose up
I saw the bride in her wedding gown
I was in the house when the house burned down

............ from I Was In The House When The House Burned Down

Ever look out your window, babe
And wonder what was going down in the street below
Out where the four winds blow
Ever stand in the crossroads, babe
And know it didn't really matter which road you chose
Heaven knows
I'm a refugee from the mansion on the hill
And if you won't leave me I'll find somebody who will

............ from If You Won't Leave Me I'll Find Somebody Who Will


The Question(s) of the Week:

Thatís right, questions. Because, like above, I just feel like it. Pick any or some or all.

(1) Are you a Warren Zevon fan? If so, tell us a story.

(2) Did you like Soderberghís Solaris? Or not? Why? Tell us that story.

(3) What is your favorite season of the year? Why? Once again, story if you please.


Movie on, Wayne.

Movie on, Garth

(~sigh~) A few short hours (depending on your particular time zone) after I post this, it will be September. I am
currently debating what to do as regards some possible additional CMotWís for the next month, and Iíll probably
post something about that tomorrow sometime. I have a topic planned, a common theme as it were, just like I
usually do each year before the new Buffy season starts up, but of course (~sniff~) there will be no new Buffy this
year. However, Angel will start up again the first Wednesday in October, and things are looking pretty
interesting in that direction. I donít know if Iíll do any formal reviews or not, I enjoy Angel but those who
know me know that BtVS was always my primary passion, and it does take a degree of passion to yammer on at
length the way I tend to do.

Well, Iím keeping my options open, as always. Thanks again for the many kind words from yaíall, and hey,
barring any rolling blackouts Iím here for the long haul, so rejoice or run away as you see fit.

Take care, post ëem if youíve got ëem, and Iíll see you soon!

-- OnM


[> Questions of the week -- CW, 09:50:52 09/01/03 Mon

1. By tomorrow I won't remember I've ever heard of Warren Zevon. No offense to Mr. Zevon, but I wasn't even a fan of pop music in my teens. It's a little too late now.

2. I believe it was Roger Ebert who said that Soderbergh's Solaris was fairly faithful to the Russian original. I actually liked the original, but not enough to want to see it again. And yes the original would have been better with something like a commentary track playing in the theater while it was showing. Not a great movie to watch while your sleepy. The idea is intriguing. To have proper impact the pacing has to be slow. But, that means you have to be in the right mood to enjoy it.

3. Fall is the best. Starting now a lot of my favorite desert plants are blooming, and even the 'foreign' plants in everybody else's yards perk up and look beautiful as the weather cools. Summer's too darn hot here, Winter's okay. Spring is like fall again here, except the weather is getting hotter instead of cooler.

Where went to college in the midwest, the fall's are gorgeous. I had one particularly grumpy prof who never had a cheerful word to say about anything. He wasn't particularly grouchy with the students, but it was a rare lecture that he wasn't griping about something in his life, his job, etc. One day as we filed into class, he was staring out the window. Outside, was one of those gorgeous days. The leaves were at their peak of color and there was a soft cool breeze making them rustle, but not yet fall. The prof turned to us and absently said, "Fall's about the only thing this state has going for it." That was the nicest thing I heard say about anything. If a guy that sour could enjoy it, 1t really meant something.

[> [> While I was sleeping.. -- Rufus, 16:50:13 09/01/03 Mon

Not a great movie to watch while your sleepy.

I fell asleep through "Solaris"....twice. I also found it to be depressing. I don't expect to watch a movie that is happy, happy, happy, all the time, but Solaris was slow moving, and a downer. It does however have value as a sleep aid.

The prof turned to us and absently said, "Fall's about the only thing this state has going for it." That was the nicest thing I heard say about anything.

Poor fellow must live in a state where the glass is empty. I love the fall, the wind gets going, making the hot day more bearable. I hate the heat with a passion, and the sun is no friend of mine (blonde, blue eyed, one brush with skin cancer). Oh yeah......a month to a new episode of Wesley the series!!!!!!!!!

[> Thank you from this "excitable" girl. -- AurraSing, 11:13:24 09/01/03 Mon

To answer question number 1, yes I am a Warren Zevon fan and have been for a long ways back. In fact it's still hard not to dance around the room whenever I hear "Werewolves of London" play like I used to back when it first came out. And when I hear it I also think of "An American Werewolf in London", another movie with a fantastic soundtrack and deliciously dark humour.

As for question number 2,I've yet to see "Solaris" and for that I firmly place the blame at the feet of fanboy sites and my mother, who obviously took a great dislike to the movie when she watched it recently. I think they've poisoned my brain and I'll need to wait till one horribly cold and snowy weekend when the roads are crappy and I'm stuck here, needing something to watch. Then I'll rent it and most probably like it,just to be perverse and all.

Question 3 makes me *sigh* and look outdoors with a frown. Summer is rapidly fleeing the mountains that I live in-the nights are getting too cool and the leaves are beginning to fall. I adore summer and the delicious feeling of abandon it inspires in me-let the housework lay by the wayside,shoo the kids outside to play in the sprinkler and just lay down in the lounger to read and let the warmth invade my bones. I suppose autumn is a close second.The smell of the fallen leaves and the crisp tang you get when you bite into a Mac apple reminds me of all the wonderful long autumn days when school was still fun and life was still fairly carefree.

I adored "Blood Simple" when it first came out because it pushed all the right buttons for me. The dark humour,the noirish feel of the romance,the twists and turns. Sure,I squirmed at that one scene (which was so wonderfully wickedly "EWWWWWWW!!" at the time) but I never stopped looking away even thought I'm not a huge fan of on-screen violence. Everything from casting to the setting clicked. The Coen brothers made me a fan for life with that debut which I find kind of remarkable since so many of my other favoured directors have fallen by the wayside in the past twenty years and no longer elict much enthusiasm anymore.

[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - August 31st 2003 - Guilty Pleasures / Buried Treasures Part V --
Haddock, 14:06:10 09/01/03 Mon

It might be my somewhat questionable memory, but isn't the song originally by Dylan rather than Warren Zevon (whom I'm sort of vaguely familiar with - didn't he do something with Peter Buck from REM once ?)

[> [> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - August 31st 2003 - Guilty Pleasures / Buried Treasures Part V -- Haddock, 14:08:00 09/01/03 Mon

Actually, it is my memory. I think I'm getting it confused with the Dylan album 'TIme out of mind'.

[> [> [> Rock math: Warren Zevon + R.E.M. - Michael Stipe = Hindu Love Gods -- cjl, 13:51:38 09/02/03 Tue

For the website of The Iceberg:

The Hindu Love Gods are of most interest to R.E.M. fans, since three quarters of that band, Peter Buck (b. 6 December 1956, Los Angeles, California, USA; guitar), Mike Mills (b. 17 December 1958, Orange County, California, USA; bass) and Bill Berry (b. 31 July 1958, Duluth, Minnesota, USA; drums), were in attendance at the 1987 sessions at which the band was formed. The group's singer/guitarist is Warren Zevon. In fact, the R.E.M. axis had contributed to two previous solo albums for Zevon, before forming the Hindu Love Gods as an ad hoc offshoot in 1986. Following the release of singles "Narrator" and "Good Time Tonight", the full recording of their meeting was finally released in 1990. This, a collection of blues standards and an unlikely Prince cover version ("Raspberry Beret"--cjl), was little more than an adequate bar-room blues session, and has not subsequently been repeated.

[> Season -- Celebaelin, 15:18:48 09/01/03 Mon

What is your favorite season of the year? Why? Once again, story if you please.

For this part of the world (and I mean specifically Warwickshire) it would have to be Spring. Very few other parts of the world ar populated with such an incredible variety of shades of green than this fair county in the season of burdgeoning life. The new growth sings from every field, hedgerow, copse and wood, I swear you can hear the transpiration going on at the top end of your hearing!

re Warren Zevon, have to say I don't own any, my collection goes from Zappa, Ahmet and Dweezil through Zappa, Dweezil, Zappa, Frank straight to Zodiac Mindwarp and ZZ Top.

As an aside unsurprisingly the Zappas are all related. Moon also appears on the Dweezil album leaving just the formidable Gail for the set (the much maligned FZ himself died in Dec 1993, announced 5 Dec 1993).

'LAUNCH: You have a mama-lion reputation. People say, "Whoa, I don't want to f--k with Gail Zappa!" I think Frank would have liked that.

GAIL: I think that's one of the things Frank liked about me.'

Gail Zappa Interview

I'm the Slime

Frank Zappa - Overnite Sensation 1973

I am gross and perverted
I'm obsessed and deranged
I have existed for years
But very little has changed
I am the tool of the Government
And industry too
For I am destined to rule
And regulate you

I may be vile and pernicious
But you can't look away
I'll make you think I'm delicious
With the stuff that I say
I'm the best you can get
Have you guessed me yet?
I'm the slime oozin out
From your TV set

You will obey me while I lead you
And eat the garbage that I feed you
Until the day we don't need you
Don't go for one will heed you
Your mind is totally controlled
It has been stuffed into my mold
And you will do as you are told
Until the rights to you are sold

That's right folks..
Don't touch that dial

Well, I am the slime from your video
Oozin' along on your living room floor

I am the slime from your video
Can't stop the slime people, lookit me go

Well, I am the slime from your video
Oozin' along on your living room floor

I am the slime from your video
Can't stop the slime people, lookit me go


[> [> OT: Voting with my conscience -- Celebaelin, 07:03:00 09/02/03 Tue

For those of you who read the GZ interview you may have got the hint but RYKO have not done the Zappa titles particular justice. They have provided a useful service in that I was finally able to obtain a copy of 'Does Humor Belong in Music' which was originally released in a (limited edition) single pressing available on CD only. Unfortunately the RYKO version doesn't even remotely resemble the original as I remember it. The principal reason I wanted to add this CD to my collection was for the cover of the Alman Brothers 'Whipping Post' which my somewhat jaded memory of 1986 tells me had three (count 'em, three) interweaving guitar lines (FZ, DZ and Ike Willis I believe) but has essentially been emasculated to a pale imitation of it's former self. I think the FZ part has been removed altogether.

Similarly with my CD version of 'You Are What You Is', another RYKO effort. 'Doreen' has been mucked around a bit, so to speak. This is not totally irreversible, on an averagely good stereo if you tweak the treble up and the bass down you can re-institute some of the former glory of the guitar but you have to know it exists in the first place.

Caveat emptor.


[> Questions answered -- matching mole, 11:14:49 09/02/03 Tue

1) I am a minor Warren Zevon fan - I bought a copy of 'Excitable Boy' when it was first released mostly because I loved 'Werewolves of London'. Didn't care for the rest of the album all that much at the time but it is one of those LPs that I've grown to enjoy more with time. I've never listened to any of his other music - some day. Was very sad when I heard about his illness - glad to hear he hasn't succumbed yet!

2) Haven't seen Solaris yet although I really want to. Some literate filmed SF would be very welcome. I'd like to see Tartovsky's (spelling?) version as well. Years ago I did see one of his films (Nostalgia?) which had perhaps the most beautiful cinematography I've ever seen but was incredibly slow moving.

3) My favourite season would depend upon where I was at the time. When I lived in Phoenix spring and fall would definitely my favourites. The climate was predictable enough that I could even pinpoint favourite months (March in particular - when the desert was bloom and the reptiles were out in force). However that would change even within the state - in the even hotter and drier southwest of Arizona - winter (February) would be my fave while in higher and damper southeast Arizona August is the month of the year.

In the more temperate climes of Ontario and Illinois where I have spent most of my life I would have to vote for summer. The primary reason is its association with childhood joys (schools out!) and going on trips. In recent years I have gained more of an appreciation of spring, the season of gardening and migrating birds but summer is still the king (queen?). I don't mind winter but do find a bit dull.

[> My favourite season is six - oh wait - -- ponygirl, 12:43:39 09/02/03 Tue

Actually I'll go with fall for the clothes and lack of sweating. Though spring and summer are all about potential, fall you know what's coming and that it's not going to be good.

I liked Solaris, but it is a very meditative movie so one does have to be in the mood. My main problem with the movie was the casting. I usually love George Clooney but I think he's more about surface charm. I just don't think he conveys the internal very well. And Solaris is all internal. I had heard that Daniel Day-Lewis was considered for the role and I think he would have been a better choice.

OnM, have you ever seen the Japanese movie After Life? It's another quiet and fascinating look at death and memory. No spaceships though, sadly.

[> I'll Sleep When I'm Dead (Zevon lives!) -- cjl, 13:35:04 09/02/03 Tue

Warren Zevon was the L.A. singer/songwriter most of the other L.A. singer/songwriters, in their all-too-mellow heart of hearts, wish they could have been. Zevon was the dark side of the city, the film noir to the Eagles' tequila sunrises, burning the candle at both ends when Jackson Browne was running on empty. He sang about headless Thompson gunners, serial killers, drug dealers, con men, raging a**holes, and wasted men who desperately wanted another chance at love but knew they would never get it.

Hunter S. Thompson and David Letterman loved him. Of course.

When the voice of doom told Zevon he was dead in three months, the artist inside him took over and refused to let the body die until he cranked out one more album to show the world just how much he cared--even if, most of the time, the world never seemed to care back. I hadn't seen that level of artistic commitment in the face of death since Dennis Potter died about ten years ago.

I remember Potter, the great British screenwriter and creator of mind-splitting miniseries like Pennies from Heaven and The Singing Detective, giving a final interview to the BBC just before he died. He was obviously in enormous pain, swigging morphine from a flask, but he actually seemed to be....happy. Or if not happy, secure in his vocation, content with how he'd spent his life, and determined to finish his last works before he shuffled off this mortal coil. He did. (Note to BBC: could we please get Karaoke/Cold Lazarus on DVD sometime in the next century?)

And so did Zevon. "The Wind" is another great Zevon album, in a career filled with great albums. (For the uninitiated, buy this CD, then get the 2-CD Rhino anthology, named for the Zevon song that's the message subject of this post.) It's probably his last. But then again, I wouldn't put it past Zevon to encounter Death in the studio and have the Reaper record some background vocals before they go....

[> Fall, cicadas and joyous songs of life and death. -- A8, 19:04:03 09/02/03 Tue

OnM always manages to draw me back to post, even when I've thought (with the demise of BTVS) myself retired from anything more than checking up on the Board once a week.

Fall--my New Year, and favorite time of the year (at least until around the time of Thanksgiving). Although I've been out of school for more than a decade now, I never managed to reconfigure my biological clock to adjust to a "normal" working stiff's seasonless sense of time. Fall just still feels like the beginning of the year to me because that's the time when all the new things happened during my academic career. The air is the crispest, the sky seems the clearest, and the moon and the stars seem to hang up there close, but just out of reach.

Cicadas--like fireflies, two things I had never witnessed personally until I lived in D.C.. The first time I heard the cicadas, I had stopped for the night at a motel in Arlington prior to finding a place to live. I didn't know what the Hell that bizarre chattering crescendo was, but the first thing that came to mind was some kind of weapons sound effect from some sci-fi movie. It wasn't until the next year that I actually saw what one of those things looked like. If I'm only left with two memories of living in D.C. at the end of my life, it will be the sound of the cicadas in August and the flickering images of the fireflies in July.

Warren Zevon--only know him from "real" FM radio of the late 70's, the greatest hits album I own, and his recent appearances on Letterman. "Poor Pitiful Me" is one of my favorite songs and feels like a life's theme at times. Of course, "Werewolves of London" always brings a smile to my face. "Lawyers Guns and Money" just about sums up my cynical view of this country and the government that allegedly represents us.

Concerning music on the topic of one's impending mortality, I would recommend as a companion to Zevon's last (apparently) CD, George Harrison's overlooked posthumous CD "Brainwashed." The CD was in the making at the time G.H. knew he didn't have much time left and the songs reflect a peaceful and touching acceptance of the coming end. It's very beautiful in its bittersweetness and there is a joy of existence underlying each tune (my personal favorite is his cover of "Devil and the Deep Blue Sea"). I'll indulge myself here and share some lyrics from the opening tune on the CD, "Any Road":

Oh I've been travelling on a boat and a plane
In a car on a bike with a bus and a train
Traveling here and traveling there
Every where in every gear

But oh Lord we pay the price with a
Spin of a wheel and a roll of a dice
Ah yeah you pay your fare
And if you don't know where you're going
Any road will take you there

And I've been traveling through the dirt
and the grime
From the past to the future through the
space and the time
Traveling deep beneath the waves--
in wattery grottoes and mountainous caves

But oh Lord we've got to fight
With the thoughts in the head and the dark
and the light
No use to stop and stare
And if you don't know where you're going
Any road will take you there

You may not know where you came from
May not know who you are
May not have even wondered how
you got this far

I've been traveling on a wing and a prayer
By the skin of my teeth and the breadth of a hair
Traveling where the four winds blow
With the sun on my face--in the ice
and the snow

But oooeee it's a game
Sometimes you're cool, sometimes
you're lame
And yeah it's somewhere
And if you don't know where you're going
any road will take you there

I keep traveling around the bend
There was no beginning, there is no end
It wasn't born and never dies
There are no edges there are no sides
Oh yeah, you just don't win
It's so far out--the way out is in
Bow to God and call him Sir
But if you don't know where you're going
Any road will take you there.
--George Harrison

I self-indulge further--can't let stream of consciousness dissipate into structured thought when a Joni lyric on the same subject pos into the noggin:

(from "Hejira"):

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector of the petty wars
That shell shock love away...

I'm porous with travel fever
But you know I'm so glad to be on my own
Still somehow the slightest touch of a stranger
Can set up trembling in my bones
I know--no one's going to show me everything
We all come and go unknown
Each so deep and superficial
Between the forceps and the stone

Well I looked at the granite markers
Those tributes to finality--to eternity
And then I looked at myself here
Chicken scratching for my immortality
In the church they light the candles
And the wax rolls down like tears
There is the hope and the hopelessness
I've witnessed all these years
We're only particles of change I know, I know
Orbiting around the sun
But how can I have that point of view
When I'm always bound and tied to someone
Whit flags of winter chimneys
Waving-truce against the moon
In the mirrors of a modern bank
From the window of a hotel room

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
Until love sucks me back that way
--Joni Mitchell

Anyhow, those were the thoughts that came to mind when OnM brought up Fall, cicadas, and Warren Zevon.


[> answers & stories, not necessarily going together -- anom, 00:04:20 09/03/03 Wed

I haven't seen Blood Simple, but when it opened I was working in an office building in a mall outside of Secaucus, N.J., that had a movie theater where it was showing. I'd heard about the film, but when I first saw the title on the marquee, I thought it said Blood Sample. It occurred to me that maybe I'd been doing medical editing too long.

As for the q's.:

1. I'm not especially a Warren Zevon fan, although certainly I've enjoyed some of his songs. (For some reason, more situations than usual have come up lately in which Werewolves of London seemed apt.) cjl's tribute above makes me think I ought to give them another, more focused listen. I was sorry to hear about his awful (hm...I hit the k instead of the l when I first typed that word & was tempted to leave it that way--seemed all too appropriate to the context) prognosis, but I'm impressed w/his response to it.

2. And haven't seen Solaris, either version, but I read the book many years ago. Long enough ago that I don't remember very much about it, except that I liked the poem w/all the initial s's & asked someone who had read it in Polish how the original was & what he thought of the translation; he said it was done just as well in both languages. I don't remember it as having the "meditative" feeling you describe in the Soderbergh film. I thought I might still have the book, but I couldn't find it.

3. My favorite season is winter. Death-schmeath! I feel more alive in the winter. I find the cold stimulating, whereas I feel sluggish in the summer, when the heat seems to sap my energy. Hell, sometimes I wish I could estivate. Not that I like extreme cold, but rhere's a freshness in the air in the winter, a snap, that I enjoy. And I love snow. I love the way it falls & swirls in the wind. I love the way it outlines tree branches & caps streetlights & awnings. I love all the stuff you can do w/it, like make snowballs & snowmen & snow angels. I love the smoothness of a new snowfall on the ground, & that 1st set of footprints across it. All this is undoubtedly a holdover from my childhood, when snow meant sledding & snowballs & school out, & I'm really glad it's lasted into adulthood. (Maybe it helps that I live in a city w/a good subway system & don't have to drive in it.)

This is where you get the story w/the answer. I still remember the date: December 12, 1966. I was 12, living in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. It had snowed & kept on snowing. That morning the snow was 2 feet deep--where it hadn't drifted. Where it had, it was so deep we kids could dig tunnels in it through the front yard & crawl through them. In one spot, we dug too close to the surface, & the tunnels collapsed in a circle. We made the round crust in the middle into a table & had a winter picnic on it. And school was closed for a week! They made us come in on Washington's Birthday to make up for it, but that week in December is one of my favorite childhood memories.

I still feel like a kid when it snows.

What makes a champion? -- Laura, 22:39:17 08/31/03 Sun

After rewatching Chosen, we hear that the medallion can only be worn by a champion. Spike wears it and since it works we can assume he is one. Cordelia has also been called one and Buffy and Angel are certainly champions.

But what makes a champion in Jossverse? If Cordelia and Spike are champions why not Gunn and Willow?

What do you guys think?

Current board | September 2003