Friday, January 31, 2003

book review Douglas Coupland( of X-Generation Fame)'s Girlfriend in a Coma follows the shiftless lives of a group of friends in suburban Vancouver. When they were teens two tragedies struck -- their most outgoing member died, and the girlfriend of on of the other characters (arguably the main character) falls into a coma. None of the others quite manage to make a life worth writing home about, although they are filled with lots of drugs and booze, and they do all end up, most of them at least, working on the X-files and other hollywood creations shot in Vancouver. ( the rest of this review has spoilers so reader beware )

I have to say that most of the book, because of this, is not terribly interesting. But one waits for it to get better -- partly because the story is being narrated by the dead teenager, and you are given hints that the girlfriend will wake up some day to terrible things. And indeed that happens, the whole world falls asleep and dies, leaving these friends and one daughter left to saunter through the pieces. They continue their shiftless lives for the most part until the world is about to end, and Jared, the dead narrator offers them a chance to go back.

Therein lies the only part of the book that engaged me, Jared's deal, and what they have to do to go back to the way things were, with everyone alive. It's a weirder version of It's a Wonderful Life, though this might be called, It's a Crappy Life and what am I doing living it?

Jared's deal is that they have to go back and never stop questioning, not one moment must pass where they don't ask themselves and others, what the hell are we doing here, why do we act like we do, etc...

It's a great call, a great speech and something definitely to aspire to. To often we don't question anything, but just carry on, in our just barely conscious of our existence kind of way. Of course, the problem with this book, and all sci-fi books about revolutions and grand changes is that we never get to see the hard dirty work of carrying it out. What happens to these people afterwards? How do they manage to keep up the good fight?

Those are the questions that we need answered really. Those are the real challenges of life. Unfortunately maybe they are not dramatic enough to write about...

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Of course there are plenty of other things to get angry about. If we are overturning cars it shouldn't be for a damn football game.

This is an adbust of the latest round of ESPN ads that are out and about -- declaiming the wonderfulness of sports and we assume sportsfans. We tend to think of violence around sports as an English hooligan thing, or something that happens in other countries only, but it's not. It happens here, perhaps not as much, perhaps not as many people die. But there is plenty of ugly sides to sports. And it is far from the Apex of society which the ESPN ads seem to place it (IMHO of course :-)

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

quarter design not good as some of the official picks. certainly not produced as nicely as any of them. But I think pure design wise, a whole lot better than some. But then i'm a snooty designer and just jealous :-)

Here's a pretty good critique of the quarters if you're interested in someone else's word, sf chronicle

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

nurse betty ho hum comedy that failed to interest me that much. none of the characters werer particularly of interest or worthy of attention. or so i felt. i won't say more

the hours the hours was a brilliantly edited and acted movie, but as an adaptation of a ( from what i can tell ) intensly psychological movie it is naturally missing one thing: the thoughts of the characters. The actresses and actors did what they could, but ultimately, one is left wondering on the motives of various characters. I think the point was clear enough -- to live one's OWN life and avoid the cages of one's and others making ( here being of course quite glib and easy, I doubt writers nor filmmakers would want it so reduced ) -- so maybe it was not necessary, but for me there was a just a little missing preventing from it being a great peice of art.

adaptation speaking of adaptations however, this movie is brilliant, if only for the 3 or 4 levels of story that it tries to embed: the story of wild orchids and their adaptation and harvesting ( the movie being an "adaptation" of a book called the orchid thief ), the attempt to write an adaptation of the orchid thief, the story writer writing the orchid thief, as well as adaptation of plants, and people, and the creation of adaptations in terms of works of art, not to mention the process of writing a screen play and book, and the interesection of all those things.

If one tries to put all of it together it can seem quite bewildering a complex bewlidering self reflective structure. If one took out all those levels it would be a trite somewhat dumb story, but the way it all tied itself together is, to my mind, nothing short of genius.

I have new found respect for Nick Cage, Meryl Streep, and the people involved ( the screen writer, the writer of the orchid thief, and the orchid thief himself ) who must have agreed at some point to be so treated!

nemesis the star trek franchise is petering out ( an aside here, what is the origin of the term petering out? some poor peter long ago who couldn't finish a task? ). enterprise has been dissappointing of late, and now the movie. blah. first of all: the plot is just dumb, the picard clone gone wrong, the inhabitants of remus being vampire look a likes, who want to destroy the universe in revenge, and bred for war -- how many bloody species in the star trek universe are bred for war?! second: the action is all just action, nothing that grabs you, pulls you out of your chair and slams you back in again ( granted that is something not easy to do, but there have been a couple star trek movies that have done that ), big explosions aren't enough! alas, maybe they'll stop, maybe they'll give up, maybe some decent minds will move onto something less overdone.

I can hope can't I?

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

ah Happy New Year. Sorry dear (few) readers for the hiatus. My holiday was much to relaxed to be sullied by turning on the computer. Which I did but twice!

But there is still much to discuss, movie reviews (Adpatation, Nemesis, the Hours, Nurse Betty, and a second viewing of Two Towers), books (names escape me at this point), the rights of corporations to free speech, lots of vivid dreams, found objects, guitar playing, disgust with fantasy writers and their inability to finish stories, and the reasons why I am writing this blog.

All in good time of course, meaning not right now, today that is.

I will leave you with a little reading assignment though: Corporations Claim The Right To Lie