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.
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
"And then we step to the r-i-i-i-i-ght..."
I was watching Britains Prime Ministers question time, kind of by accident earlier. For those not au-fait with British politics, the opposition party (nearest US eqivalent to the Republicans) recently had a change of leadership. The quiet and inneffectual Iain Duncan Smith was replaced with Michael Howard.
To really appreciate how messed up this is, you have to remember that "New Labour", the Blair party and current patients in charge of the asylum, left-wing in name, while right wing in practice. Howard, on the other hand, is so far to the right that he makes Blair look like Lenin.
So really, what the conservatives are trying to sell to the British public is "Labour isn't working. They say they are the left. Let's all try something different, and go to the right."
Much as I hate Blairs New Labour, the idea of a Howard led Tory party coming to power fills me with dread. While Blair went in for "spin", Howard is just crooked. There was a famous incident years ago, where he was being interviewed on Newsnight by the notorious Jeremy Paxman. He was asked a straightforward question. "Did you threaten to over-rule him?"
Howard began by saying "I did NOT over-rule him..." Paxman cut him off. "Did you THREATEN to over-rule him?"
What followed next simply can't be done justice in print. Howard continued to avoid the question, and Paxman KEPT ASKING IT. All in all, he asked "Did you threaten to over-rule him?" FOURTEEN times.
Paxman: Did you threaten to overrule him?
Howard: I was not entitled to instruct Derek Lewis and I did not instruct him. And the truth is...
Paxman: Did you threaten to over-rule him?
Howard: I did not overrule Derek Lewis.
Paxman: Did you threaten to overrule him?
I mention all of this to give you some perspective of what a tremendous right-wing evil crook I think Howard is.
Okay, so now bearing that in mind... he made a speech today in Parliament which hit every single fuck up the Labour Government has made. It said all of the things which are not actually supposed to be said, by anyone. Those uncomfortable truths that BOTH parties know, and try to keep quiet. Well, he got them all. It was fiery, articulate, laden with memorable sound-bites, and devastating to watch. At the end of it, I was thinking "I hate the guy, but based on that speech I'd probably vote for him." It was masterful, and I kind of respected him. Not for his stance, since every word of his good intentions is no doubt a lie. No, I respected the power of his demagoguery. I'd never seen Hitler speak at one of his rallies, but I imagine it went something like that.
Though I haven't written about it, the last week or so my father was back in the hospital. It's been about a month or so since he was scheduled to go in and get a problem in his throat looked at. Naturally, we all had the fear that it was the cancer returning. Well, he had the endoscopic exam last Thursday. I got a chance to see him on my way to the airport. The doctors didn't see anything, but they swabbed for a biopsy anyway.
Yesterday, he was moved to another hospital so that they could do a PET scan. PET scans are one of those technologies I'm kindof in love with. Practically modern day science fiction, you could imagine Bones McCoy using a PET scan in 60's Star Trek.
Anyway, he'll get the results on the PET scan tomorrow. For today, he's home and dozing in the armchair up to his eyeballs in drugs.
I was lucky enough to be in the UK last week, when the biggest week-day protest in their history took to the streets to say that Bush/Blair were acting illegally and without the backing of the British public.
It was quite impressive. Originally, the police and official estimates placed the crowd in the region of 20,000 people. Now, I know from long experience that crowd sizes are one of those things that the media play fast and loose with. If it's an event you support, you inflate the numbers. If it's one you disapprove of, you decrease the numbers. But 20,000 was fucking ridiculous. If anything, all it indicated was the depth of annoyance the establishment felt at the protest. "Official" estimates have since gone up to a more realistic 120,000 though the organisers are still claiming it was over 300,000. Perhaps the truth is somewhere in between.
A couple of things struck me quite forcefully during the day. First, the wide ranging political nature of the groups involved. It would be impossible to pidgeon-hole these people into any one group. There were soldiers mothers, conservatives, Guardian readers, hippies, Pro-Palestinian groups, LibDems, Labour supporters, Americans living in London, war veterans... the list is huge. You could not get a group this diverse to agree on many issues, but under their dismay and disgust at Bush and Blair, they were united.
Another thing that struck me was how the different countries (American and England) react to such protests. Americas response has been to ignore and sideline the issue. Some of the more rabid neo-cons calling "peack-niks" traitors and unpatriotic and so on. There was a brief effort to stage "pro-war" rallies but they were so pathetic they vanished from the public record.
England on the other hand (under the auspices of Blair's regime) looked at hundreds of thousands of people marching outside and said "Well, 50 million people stayed at home. Ergo, they support us. Let's go."
Do you see the difference there? Do you think America could tolerate it if a President looked outside his window and saw the Million Man march heading up Pennsylvania Avenue and said "Well shee-it, 248 million stayed at home! I must be doing good!"
By far the highlight of the protest was the toppling of the Bush statue in Trafalgar Square. It made great television so even the Murdoch mouthpiece had to cover it about 4 times an hour for a few hours. (No offence George, but ratings is ratings.)
The organisers had erected a statue of Dubya and were going to topple it in symbolic parody of the toppling of Saddam's statue in Baghdad. Unlike the Saddam toppling (where judicious use of framing the shot made it look like the square was crowded) this was a well attended piece. You can see the statue fall here complete with protesters dancing on his head.
HazzardX has recently been generating some unusual blog entries by interviewing some of his online friends and posting the results. Yesterday, it was my turn to go under the spotlight. It was interesting, if a little unusual. While I like to think I'm the sort of person who can talk/type easily on the fly, I know that it when it comes to blogging or entries on Bulletin Boards, websites, etc... that I put at least a modicum of time and thought into it. Same is true for emails. So I found it a little disconcerting to answer weighty topics on the fly and unprepared. Hopefully it comes out okay.
I was never "good". I was great.
I've mentioned before that I thought Full Throttle was a whores abortion of a movie, as unsightly and disgusting and offensive as it was possible to be. They took all the charm and cool campy fun from the first movie, and just shat right all over it in great big steaming piles of poo.
Demi Moore, every which way you slice it, was the best thing in the movie. Not only did she kick ass in the acting stakes, she made Cameron Diaz look second best in their beach-bod-face-off. No mean feat. And apparently, she pissed off the Angelic trio by upstaging them at premieres and so on. Hey, if you've got it...
So imagine how stunned I was to hear the news that Demi may be back in the third movie, and that the hapless trio will be absent! Yay! Truly they deserve to be kicked off the franchise for their numerous crimes in that sequel.
Apparently, Demi will be taking the franchise into the 80's, when Madison was good/great. Can she pass for younger version of herself? Hell, it's no more implausible than any of the other stuff we've seen on Charlies Angels. And I'd willingly buy into that disbelief if she's bikini clad again.
But if age and looks were not going to be an issue and Lucy Liu was going to be absent, I'd love to see Bill Murray back as Bosley, instead of that unfunny "yessa-massa" racist stereotype.
I was out drinking with H last night. H, as I mentioned in an earlier entry, had been royally fucked over by the love of his life. At the time, I had mentioned two of the five stages he was going to go through at the time, and as we commisserated over hot whiskeys and pints of Guinness, I explained what the other stages were.
Stage 1: Denial a.k.a. The "last chance" phase
This is where your S.O. has told you they're breaking up with you. Or that they need "space". Or any of the other phrases which to an objective observer would mean "We're through." But not to you. Your brain translates it as "Shit! This is serious! I might get dumped! Well, okay, whatever it is, I can fix it. I can change. It's going to be better. Whatever it is, I'll do it, but don't break up with me!"
Stage 2: Delusion a.k.a. The "they'll be back" phase
You're convincing yourself on some level that they will realise they've made a horrible mistake in dumping you. They will sheepishly, possibly tearfully, call you and either beg forgiveness or ask if they can work things out. At this stage, it is not uncommon to have dreams where this actually happens. Fantasies of the ex throwing themselves on your mercy are commonplace. As is the denouemont where you prove yourself to be the mature person, and "grudgingly" accept them back. Don't kid yourself. It's not going to happen.
Stage 3: Anger a.k.a. The "that bitch/bastard ruined my life" phase
This is the stage where you hate your ex with an unreasoning and irrational hatred. You only get here when you've finally accepted that your ex is not coming back. The more extreme of us possibly fantasise elaborate revenge scenarios, but even the most tame looks forward to the day when you'll be doing so much better, run into them, behold their life is in the shitheap, and then you can gloat mockingly.
Stage 4: Isolation a.k.a. The "I'll never be hurt like that again" phase
Well, there's some overlap between some of the stages, so you may not have put away all you're rage yet. But this is the point where you decide that you'll protect your heart in future. You'll never expose your innermost core, you'll never trust anyone 100%. You may stop dating for a while, convinced that the entire gender of your choice is just fucked up and not worth it.
You also lose all self-confidence about what made you such a catch in the first place. Your ego takes a hammering. It is not inconceivable to you that you will never have sex again.
Or if you still date, you'll just go through the motions of being in a relationship, but secretly you just won't give a shit about the person you're seeing.
Stage 4 can last a very long time. Depending on the severity and circumstances of the initial dump.
Stage 5: External confidence a.k.a. The "Faking it" phase
You're back in the dating scene, still bruised, but not showing it.
Stage 5 is kind of the final "stage" before you completely heal, so I guess you could call stage 6 (the desired status quo) "Internal Confidence" where the attitude you exude to attract a partner is no longer superficial and fake.
It's surprising how closely the above five stages of being dumped from a long term relationship can correlate to being fired from a long-term job. And I should know, I've been fired from a lot of jobs.
Anyway, H is now in stage 4 but looking to enter stage 5 soon.
The sound of a script being delivered.
I just got back from seeing Matrix : Revolutions. (From hereafter known as "Revolting") As a fairly forgiving movie fan, I have sat through quite a lot of substandard shit: Phantom Menace, Arthur 2, Bless the Child, Johnny Mnemonic, Exorcist 2, Time Changer, (actually most crap sci-fi). In fact, of the IMDB's top 100 worst movies ever, I've seen 16 of them. And in some of them I even found little bits that I enjoyed.
So I can honestly say without fear of exaggeration that the new Matrix movie is the WORST movie I have ever seen.
I don't think we have the words in the English language to truly describe just how awful it is. But given the restrictions of the English language, I'll try to explain.
This movie is so shit, that it actually exceeds the local regions space-time boundary limitations for concentrated shit, such that it actually goes BACK IN TIME, and dumps a load of shit on the FIRST Matrix movie. Thereby rendering it almost unwatchable.
That's how bad this movie is.
Among it's many many faults : It's stupid. It spends more time on lesser characters than the alleged stars. They seem to think "virtual" humans won't be spotted and winced at by an audience that sees better on a PS2. Scenes which are clearly supposed to evoke an emotional response (such as when Trinity dies) left me going "Shut up and fucking DIE already!" Questions go unanswered. More questions are raised. Peoples goals change without anyone realising it. There are plot holes SO big you could just about fill the shit of this movie into 4 of them. It's predictable. The directing makes McG's work on Full Throttle look like Citizen Fucking Kane. They lift several shots and moments DIRECTLY from their own progenitor, in a blatant and frankly nauseous effort to evoke some audience loyalty and good feeling. ("Hey, remember THIS bit? Eh? Remember when we weren't crap?") Sorry, but due to the local causality violations mentioned above, no, nothing from the first movie will make me feel good ever again.
From the "You can't make this shit up" file.
It's official. The latest Harry Potter book is so bad, it hurts your brain.
Last months New England Journal of medicine had a letter from Dr. Howard Bennett. In it, he reported that threet little tykes aged 8 to 10, experienced a dull headache for two or three days, caused by reading the latest Harry Potter novel.
"If this escalation continues as Rowling concludes the saga, there may be an epidemic of Hogwarts headaches in the years to come."
I'd love to see Rowlings dull and tedious tomes come with a government sanctioned health warning.