Weirdest Dream lately :
I dreamed I was on the "other side" when my Dad was passing. I spoke to him and made sure he was okay. Then I woke, and knew he was gone. 30 minutes later, we got the call from the hospital saying that his blood pressure had crashed in the last 30 minutes.
Currently working on :
A BTVS related story called "Long Goodbye" which deals with a member of the Watchers Council being vamped as part of an experiment.
Also completing my nanowrimo effort.
A blog for that outspoken and aggressive member of the Buffy Bulletin Board.
Monday, July 28, 2003
Hope is dead
And not in the metaphorical sense
The news just came in about an hour ago. Bob Hope, legendary entertainer, has finally passed away, at the ripe old age of 100.
I guess we all knew it was coming. On his birthday, he reportedly said to his family: "I'm so old, they've cancelled my blood type." After George Burns had managed to hang on to see his 100th birthday, I had wondered if Bob would do the same. The recent birthday celebrations they held in his honour were something to watch. Though I cynically wondered if many of those wishing him well were of the opinion that he was just an old fogey, not worth their time.
It's a sad thing, but a lot of people don't seem to appreciate or realise that Bob Hope was timeless in the truest sense of the word. It didn't matter if you were a contemporary, a child of the 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, or whatever. Bob Hope could make you laugh. He was incredibly quick witted, and had masterful delivery.
When I was very young, maybe 4 or 5, I remember thinking even then that so-called comedy fare, (in Black and White) like Laurel and Hardy or the 3 Stooges or the little rascals, or Charlie Chaplin, or Harold Lloyd, just left me cold. I didn't think they were funny at all. But Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in the Road movies were accessible to me, even at a very young age.
When I was older, in my teens, I saw a lot of his movies again, and appreciated them on a whole new level. In fact, all through my life it has been a constant for me, that if I see a Hope movie on the telly, I'll sit down and watch it and laugh.
One of my prize possessions is a collection of old Radio shows which were broadcast on the AFN during the war. (That's WWII for those who don't know.) And while shows like "The Whistler" our "You Bet Your Life" still have a certain charm and a few good moments not all of which are nostalgic, it is the Bob Hope shows that I listen to most regularly.
I know Bill Hicks used to joke that his father compared him to Bob Hope. "Bob Hope doesn't have to use the F-Word." "Yeah Dad, well Bob Hope doesn't have to play the shitholes that I do." I'd like to think that young comedians today still had some respect for their legendary elders. Not because they are old, but because in some cases they have earned it in spades. He's earned more awards than any other entertainer in history. Except he never received the one he most wanted - an Oscar for acting. I think the Oscars next year will feature him extensively. Too little too late, IMO.
I remember that when he was hosting it in 1968, he joked: "Welcome to the Academy Awards. Or as it's known in my house - Passover."
I'm a big fan of comedy. I don't think there's enough laughter in the world. And it doesn't matter if it's Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks, Sam Kinison, Groucho Marx, George Burns or Bob Hope. Intelligent witty humour should never go out of style.
I hate Sunday's. Ever since I was a child, when Sunday meant the end of the weekend, a return to school the following day, a compulsary early night, doing all the homework I'd ignored since Friday afternoon, and of course, going to church. In many ways, Sunday was the worst day of the week. In the calandar we traditionally use, Sunday is the last day of the week, but in other calandars, it is the begining of the week. The first day. How much would that suck to have the week start off so badly?
Of course, a lot of people hate Monday for similar reasons... going back to work, Monday morning hangover, the long interminable week ahead. It just seems a pity that the day we have put aside for worship should happen on such an otherwise shitty day as well.
Saturday, for similar reasons to the above, was always my favourite day. It was MY day. When I was young, it was the one day that was totally mine, unencumbered by work, homework or religious observation. It was stay-up-late day. When I was older, it was party night. Stay out until dawn night. Pub day. Sports day. Saturdays were just the best.
So here I am in front of a PC on a boring wet Sunday, while yesterday was a great and glorious sunny Saturday.
I took the family out for a meal yesterday. Went to a nice resteraunt and had what was quite possibly the best meal of my life. I felt like I didn't need to eat for about 24 hours afterwards. I was pleased to be able to get one of my Dad's sisters to come along as well, so although my brother is away at the moment it was a nice familial get together. Ostensibly, we were celebrating my Dad's good news. Included in that, I guess, were the twin results of my getting a new job and coming into some money.
Though I have obviously got debts to get rid of, there were a few things I wanted to do as "treats" with the cash. First, obviously, take everyone out for a nice meal. Second, I want to get myself personal perk. I'm thinking of getting a set of binoculars (for Astronomy, so probably a 7x50 pair) or else the Season 2 and 3 Family Guy DVD's. Will make a decision tomorrow when the shops open.
I just got the word about 15 minutes ago from my Dad, that the results of the biopsy show that the tumor is dead.
Suffice to say, I'm beyond pleased. I fully expect to go out this evening and drink myself into a coma. I rang my brother in Amsterdam and told him, and my sister knows as well. Still have a few other phone calls to make, but it's a nice task to have some good news to share.
There is one more procedure still to be done, which is fairly routine, (although at his advanced age, every procedure carries risks) which is to remove the glands in his neck. It's a necessary thing apparently, but routine and quite common.
I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I certainly feel a couple of dozen kilos lighter than before.
yada yada yada
Okay, so as titles go, that's not the most original. Every dude and his uncle is lovin' the old Hulk-smash thing right now. Tonight is going to be my night to see the jolly green giant do his thing. I'm actually kind of nervous about seeing it. I've been waiting for a decent superhero movie for AGES, and I've hated most that have come down the pike. Xmen was okay, X2 was pretty cool, but I thought Daredevil and Spiderman were poor. DD especially. I guess what I hated most was the way people were plugging it as being a "realistic" movie, in that he feels pain, is addicted to painkillers, bleeds etc... Well whoop-de-fucking-do. As soon as I saw him leaping 50 feet without turning his ankles to gello, I was ready to walk out of the fucking cinema.
I can buy suspension of disbelief. I can watch things like Charlies Angels and enjoy it, because they generally stick to their own self-written rules. But DD (like Angel the series) seems to claim to adhere to one set of rules, and then doesn't. Rules are thrown about all over the place. I hate that. Pick a fucking reality and STICK to it, okay?
So tonight, Hulk is going to do his thing. And I hope it's great. I hope it rocks my world. And I hope it's at the least consistant. I'm not a purist, I don't care if it's not a gamma-bomb that does the deed. I don't care if the Hulk isn't grey when we first see him. Just tell a good consistant story.
Ang Lee is a terrific director. I loved the Ice Storm, and Crounching Tiger made me gasp and cry at all the right moments. I've tried to remain spoiler free about the Hulk, but I've heard that the movie had a huge opening, and then dropped off the face of the earth due to bad word of mouth. I'd like to believe that was because the vast majority of the American audience was "thick" or that the studio hadn't a clue how to promote an intelligent character piece, so they advertised a "hulk smasheroo" and that that's not what the movie is about. I'd like to believe these things, but I dunno.
I'll post my thoughts later.
It's not a great movie, but it's not bad. At least, not in the way that DD and Spidey were bad.
Ang Lee is a good director, but I felt at times that maybe he was overusing the "I've got a new wipe!" thing. The acting was quite good all around, and the directing and soundtrack were also good, though the sound of the Hulk's roar and voice failed to impress. And there was an enourmous over abundance of green in this movie. And I'm not talking about a green filter over some scenes. I'm talking green objects. Everywhere. In a film where the main character is 12' tall and green, you'd think we'd have some other colours involved to give the rods and cones in the eye a break. But no. There was more green in this movie than in the 3 Matrix films combined. Ang did everything except have the movie take place on a Saint Patricks Day weekend. Maybe he'd never heard of that particular holiday.
Where this film failed was in other areas. Lighting for one. The night scenes were WAY too dark, and I was itching for a remote control so that I could up the brightness and contrast. Maybe it was necessary to disguise shoddy CGI work, or maybe it was just the theatre I was in. But it stunk. And it made working out what was going on in the end virtually impossible.
I liked the cameos, though Stan Lee is so obvious he might distract people from noticing the original hulk himself, Lou Ferrigno. And the CGI on the Hulk himself, was passable. Not as good as Gollum, but miles better than anything George Lucas has come up with. It still wasn't "real" but it was totally acceptable for the movie itself. By far, in my opinion, the best CGI effect was in the final transformation to Bruce in San Francisco, as he walks towards Betty.
Watching the CGI hulk rampage in San Francisco, a couple of shots made it obvious how they were "Action Man"ing the jolly green giant. Every muscle on this dude is like 50 times bigger than normal, but you can't tell where is dick is in trousers that must be unfeasibly tight? (I'm sure there's going to be a hentai version where Betty Ross tries to ride the green pony.) Anyway, it made me paraphrase Peter Venkmans line.... "The guy's a geek, and in San Fran. We get him laid, we won't have any problems."
The movie really falls apart in terms of the story. For one thing, the plot was two-dimensional, as is possibly fitting for a comic book translation. For another, it often didn't make sense in what it was doing. I never understood why Bruce turns into the Hulk the first time. Nothing apparently sets him off. No explanation is ever given for how he can tell where Betty is over hundreds of miles away. And as for the whole Absorbing Man finish, well that was just preposterous.
Where the movie suceeded was in most of the early parts, and the first half. It works as a character piece. Considering the word Hulk was used only once that I noticed, and considering how little the Hulk is actually in the movie, it might almost have been better to try and give the movie a different name. Okay, that would have been impossible for so many reasons, but basically, the Hulk is not the focus of this movie. It is misleading, I think, to have "Hulk" as the title.
It's not a movie I would watch a second time. At least, not unless I had a remote in my hand. So I'll wait for the TV version, probably.
Alignment: Chaotic Good characters are independent types with a strong belief in the value of goodness. They have little use for governments and other forces of order, and will generally do their own things, without heed to such groups.
Race: Elves are the eldest of all races, although they are generally a bit smaller than humans. They are generally well-cultured, artistic, easy-going, and because of their long lives, unconcerned with day-to-day activities that other races frequently concern themselves with. Elves are, effectively, immortal, although they can be killed. After a thousand years or so, they simply pass on to the next plane of existance.
Primary Class: Mages harness the magical energies for their own use. Spells, spell books, and long hours in the library are their loves. While often not physically strong, their mental talents can make up for this.
Secondary Class: Bards are the entertainers. They sing, dance, and play instruments to make other people happy, and, frequently, make money. They also tend to dabble in magic a bit.
Law & Chaos:
Good & Evil:
Law ----- (5)
Good ---- (17)
Human ---- (5)
Half-Elf - (1)
Neutral - (-1)
Neutral - (-5)
Elf ------ (11)
Fighter - (-1)
Chaos --- (7)
Evil ---- (-1)
Halfling - (-5)
Ranger -- (2)
Dwarf ---- (1)
Paladin - (-1)
Half-Orc - (-2)
Cleric -- (1)
Gnome ---- (3)
Mage ---- (7)
Druid --- (-2)
Thief --- (1)
Bard ---- (7)
Monk ---- (1)
All in all there are some cool similarities there to a character I used to play. Liked that test a lot, especially since it brought back so many memories of RPG's from years and years ago.
They were a fantastic way to trigger the imagination, and made magic and sorcery so much cooler than something like Harry Potter could ever hope to be. It's the sort of feeling you can't explain to the uninitiated... How during a marathon session, you don't see the room any more. You don't see the dice. You don't know about "look up tables" or "grievous hits". You're there! In the marshes of the dead, on your way to the Skeleton King, nursing a companion who's bleeding profusely from his wounds, and hoping like fuck that the ranger in your group will be back soon with some herbs that will help the wounded. Or at least give him pain relief so he will shut the fuck up.
The first full length story I wrote was based on an adventure and characters my friends and I played with. Good days. Good times.
Mithrandir : Dwarf, mage, college of the Sorcery of the Mind.
Esch : Human, Ranger, the only one who knew the location of the Fountain of Youth
Shea : Half-Orc, Assassain, with a seemingly inexhaustable supply of grenados.
Those are names I'll remember for as long as I live.
thought Citizen Wilson, seconds before someone blew his head off.
I'll admit it. I'm a huge fan of Big Brother. Not the all seeing eye dictator, obviously. I'm talking about the TV show. It's been exported all around the world now, and I've spent WAY too much time following the antics of various housemates all over the globe.
Why do I love it so much? Well, it's because I find the cultural dynamics of each house to be absolutely fascinating. Perhaps it's something you can only appreciate when you watch the housemates from more than one house. Be a sort of "uber" Big Brother as it were. It probably goes without saying that most contestants who enter the house, do so with some sort of game plan (of which, denying the existance of a plan is a favoured tactic). But the thing is, when you get people drunk or when they just begin to get angry and frustrated and stir crazy, you can see a lot more of their true selves than they would ordinarliy admit to.
Granted, my country doesn't have a "Big Brother" show, so I don't really know what it's like to have my country represented by a bunch of assholes. (Oh, wait, that's our government's job.) And possibly the Scotish people wouldn't like to think they are represented by prudish hypocrite Cameron or that Irish people are represented by drunken thug Ray or whatever. But that's not what I'm getting at here. It's not about drawing conclusions of representative sampling from a few starstruck wannabes onto the population at large. It's about seeing what traits are praised by the citizens of that country. Which ones cause outrage. Which ones gain popularity. That can be very revealing indeed.
Of all the countries that I've seen however, only one man stands above it all as just the top-dog, coolest of the cool, and all round super nice guy. That is, of course, Jon Tickle of the UK House.
He's one of those people who's minds are always working, always ticking over on something new. He's honest and forthright, and scathing when dealing with hypocrites or the Tabloid Press. And when he was evicted from the house a few weeks back, the first words his brother said to him at the door were "You're the most famous man in Britain!" All things considered, (such as the amount of TV coverage he got upon eviction) it was amazing how he didn't let it swell his head.
Last week, the UK did something unprecedented and voted for an evicted housemate to go back into the house. In under two hours, more than 500,000 people voted Jon to go back in. That's more people than generally vote for Big Brother in an entire week. The man is a legend. And since the edited TV coverage never does him justice, here's a few of my favourite Jon moments.
Big Brother: Would housemates please ensure their microphones are properly positioned.
Jon: Shouldn't that be positioned properly, shouldn't the thingy come after the thingy?
Big Brother: Would Jon please come to the diary room.
Jon: Oh God, I'm being told off for correcting her grammar!
Jon: I don't know if you noticed but all of us woke up with underwear on our heads.
When giving Nominations to Big Brother in the Diary Room.
Jon: Have we spoken before? When I stop speaking it means I'm done. (further pause)
Jon: Now its your turn to speak
Jon: Naughty tomato plant!
(You had to see it to believe it.)
Big Brother: How has your day been, Jon?
Jon: Well, I just finished reading King Lear, and they're all dead. Apparently that happens a lot in Shakespeare.
To Cameron, the religious nutter
Jon: If you want a really good laugh, read Revelations.
Nush: Do you know why you've never met someone? Cos you can't love yourself...
Jon: I do love myself. To the Nth degree. I think I'm fantastic. I think that no-one else will ever match up. (pause) If I could marry myself, I would.
Nush: Have you ever seen a lettuce like that in your life?
Jon: No. I thought I'd been around, but...
Nush: Whats everyone thinking about at the moment?
Scott: I'm thinking whether Steph and Cameron are ever gonna get it on.
Nush: I was thinking that too! *laughs* What are you thinking about Jon?
Jon: I was thinking why 2/3rds of that salt is potassium chloride because surely.... **Nush & Scott erupt with laughter** ... surely potassium is a more reactive metal than sodium and therefore anything bad about sodium chloride must be doubly worse with potassium chloride.
Dad, Brother, Gardening, John Holmes and Writing.
It's been a rough few days. I've been hesitant to make an entry, mostly because it's getting to the stage now where I'm never sure how much I can safely say about my Dad's condition. He was due to go in to hospital again, for a procedure. It looks like they will have to remove some glands from his neck (lymph glands, I believe) and he was taken in on Sunday when they finally had an available bed.
Well, he's back home today. They didn't remove anything, but have taken a swab of the tumor and a CT scan, and we'll have the results on Friday fortnight. As much as it is a great relief to ME to have him home, it is even more of a relief for him. He was really convinced when he left on Sunday that he would never come home again. It was heartbreaking to see him say goodbye to my mother, and thank her for the decades of married life they have shared. It was also strange to see him asking her to pray like she'd never prayed before. He's a self-proclaimed atheist, but it was almost like for a moment he believed there was a God, just that He wasn't going to listen to a fox-hole atheist. My mother is a life-long devout though.
He's always seemed like a strong man, both in character and conviction. But it's something else to face the possibility that you're going to die in the immediate future. I know it's churning him up inside, but he's not one to share that with anyone, even his wife.
I guess it's one of the things I've inherited from him, as I take my personal privacy to an extreme degree.
My brother and his girlfriend flew in last weekend to spend a few days with him before he went in. It was great to see them over. As I believe I've mentioned before, she is from New Zealand, so in an effort to make her feel more at home, we had a barbeque on Saturday and Sunday. Plenty to drink, as you can imagine, and it made me feel particularly pleased that my recent efforts had made the garden presentable.
We had a slug infestation, which I managed to deal with. Harsh chemicals and pesticides are the only way to go. After I had treated the entire garden with some blue pellet stuff (a gardening technical term) every little colony space (about 8 of them dotted around the garden) had white viscous slug trail stains scattered all over. As I was hosing the place clean, I remarked to my brother that it looked like John Holmes had jizzed all over the grass. He thanked me for that particular image. Guess my penchant for the unusual turn of phrase is undiminished.
I've still been unable to write something (storywise) which hasn't been tinged with meloncholy and melodrama, but I'm trying. I still have a few ideas which I haven't been able to commit to paper properly, including an idea based on cross between cyberspace and the Neil Gaiman "Dreaming" concept,, concerning subdermal PDA's, neural links, and an IPv6 address category for lucid dreamers using their PDA to access the internet while asleep. I'm probably not doing it justice in a few lines like that, but I think it's a neat idea, if I can only find a story for it to fit into.
No sooner am I done with my latest entry, I edit it to add the comments field, and all of a sudden I can't publish no more.
I think I screamed for a few minutes. There was a sort of numbing blackness, a loud thumping noise that may have been my blood pressure, then blessed silence and darkness.
When I came to, I realised that the entire Blogger site had gone down on me quicker than a Dutch hooker.
So at least it's not just me. posted by Manchild at 1:26 AM
Obviously, lamenting loudly to the universe sometimes works.
Which kind of brings me around nicely to some good news. After months of unemployment, rising debt levels, questionable personal health checks and some rather shitty personal life changes, things have begun to turn around. And in the curious way the universe has of doing it, it happened when I stopped focusing on things.
I now have a job. Yay me. What's more, this particular job (while not as well paying as I'd like) suits me in location, hours and type. Plus, I'll get to work on some areas and skills which could do with some care and attention. (e.g. People skills.) This will come as no surprise to those who know me in the flesh, and through my .net presence, but I'm not what anyone would call a people person. I mean, I CAN be, I just don't do it.
It'll be fun to use that particular skill and develop it in a new way.
More tomorrow, assuming Blogger doesn't go apeshit during the night.
Fucking blogger. I am seriously considering moving to another system.
Today, even though I question whether it's worth it (or if I can afford it) I tried to upgrade to Blogger Pro in an effort to get some god-damned tech support.
They can't even get "Blogger Pro" ordered now, their system is so shit.
You suck Blogger. And I say that as someone who knows computers and the .net pretty well.
I know Windows Internet Explorer 6 is chock full of things I don't like. Little tentacles of evil running all the way back to Redmond. I stayed with Internet Explorer 5.5 for ages, using Opera for Browsing and Netscape for Blogging.
But ever since Blogger decided to have a fit everytime I logged in, regardless of the Browser, I finally said fuck it, and allowed the useless Windows Update thing to drag me reluctantly up to version 6 sp1.
Did it work?
Did it fuck.
I still can't publish anything, and I've no idea when (if ever) these words will see the light of day.