Lazy Day at Home

Sunday, 29 December 2002

to­day was an­oth­er lazy day at home. i’ve start­ed tak­ing af­ter­noon naps. and i’m slow­ly run­ning out of things to read, which means i’ll most like­ly play more playsta­tion and go rent movies i should have seen in the the­ater. i’ve as­sem­bled all of my po­et­ry books for trans­port and in­spi­ra­tion for my po­et­ry class next semester.i thought i had more books of po­et­ry but it i’ve on­ly 7 here and 2 at school. i think i’m go­ing to brush up on ex­is­ten­tial­ist writ­ings dur­ing break.

i went to the First Run over in Oxford, Ohio the oth­er night with a bunch of bud­dies from high­school. i’ll be video­tap­ing Bo’s wed­ding this sum­mer. the First Run does not have a dart board. i’ve nev­er heard of a bar w/​o such. some­what dis­ap­point­ing.

Book Review: Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves

Saturday, 28 December 2002

i’m not one who has much knowl­edge of lit­er­ary trends in nov­el-writ­ing but House of Leaves strikes me as a book that could very well be the great work of post­mod­ern lit­er­a­ture. which means every­thing and noth­ing. as an ex­per­i­men­tal nov­el it is a re­mark­ably well con­struct­ed thing. i had a bit of trou­ble get­ting in to it, but the book teach­es you how to read it as it goes along. at my last count there are three and a half sto­ries all re­volv­ing en­cased with­in each oth­er. start­ing from the core we have The Navidson Record, a non-fic­tion film and doc­u­men­tary in the true mean­ing of the word, of the Navidson’s house on Ash Tree Lane that is larg­er on the in­side than it is on the out­side. with­in the depths of this house, or per­haps with­in the depths of the souls of the peo­ple that live in the house dwells the shad­owy mino­taur. this sto­ry is the sub­ject of a pseu­do-aca­d­e­m­ic ex­am­i­na­tion of The Navidson Record by the blind Zamp no. this per­son is dead. but Johnny Truant who knew Zamp no takes it up­on him­self to or­ga­nize and foot­note this pa­per, al­most at the cost of his san­i­ty. the half sto­ry comes from the ed­i­tors who take it up­on them­selves to pro­vide trans­la­tions for the nu­mer­ous pas­sages in for­eign lan­guages.

the en­tire work is heav­i­ly foot­not­ed which ef­fec­tive­ly keeps the read­er from be­com­ing too en­gaged in any one sto­ry at a time. al­so, 4 dif­fer­ent ver­sions of the book ex­ist. in the su­per-duper de-luxe ver­sion, every oc­cur­rence of house is in blue and the word mino­taur and struck pas­sages are in red. plus, one struck line is in pur­ple and there are braille pas­sages and col­or plates.

as a film stu­dent i was fas­ci­nat­ed with the crit­i­cism of The Navidson Record. i want to make this film. As for what the book in­tends to do, i have on­ly slight clues. i need to read it sev­er­al more times and en­join my­self to the mes­sage boards on the book. i sus­pect that the mean­ing will be dif­fer­ent for each per­son. if you like to read, then add this book to your list. i loved it.

Spoiled Rotten

Thursday, 26 December 2002

i am spoiled rot­ten: a list of christ­mas booty.

  • Cordial Cherries
  • National Geographic
  • Walden
  • Crime and Punishment
  • House of Leaves
  • Norelco Beard Trimmer
  • a coat (mid­dle row fifth one down #4203)
  • a Sony DSC-P51

my bud­dy neal got a beard trim­mer and cam­era as well.

Altar Boy

Monday, 23 December 2002

i used to be an al­tar boy. a damn good one at that, i knew what need­ed to be done at ex­act­ly what time and i knew all of the foibles of the priest i helped out. it was dread­ful­ly bor­ing. i did how­ev­er gain the abil­i­ty to keep a to­tal­ly emo­tion­less face for an en­tire hour. i al­ways took the hon­or of prepar­ing the censer and in­cense when we used it in mass. i got to play with fire, and make it smell good. it was the on­ly sexy part of be­ing a serv­er. i did pass out a cou­ple of times dur­ing sum­mer mass due to lack of blood sug­ar and the in­tense heat that wear­ing an alb in sum­mer heat with­out hav­ing break­fast would cause any­one to pass out. if you read that sen­tence again i change some­thing around from the first half to the sec­ond half and it shouldn’t make any sense. too many verb claus­es? what­ev­er.

Christmas Break

Saturday, 21 December 2002

to­day, my first day at home, was spent christ­mas shop­ping with moth­er. i con­vinced her to spend $90 on a coat for me. and ap­par­ent­ly i was a good luck charm for find­ing the gifts she need­ed to. i’m still a lit­tle lovesick, coweyed, moon­struck, but that is on­ly to be ex­pect­ed. ap­par­ent­ly, i, he who has too many ver­sions of Lord of the Rings to his name still doesn’t have the one nec­es­sary for this class i am tak­ing. i need one with con­tin­u­ous pag­i­na­tion. grant­ed, i have this ver­sion, but not this ver­sion which is the one we are sup­posed to have. my ver­sion is bet­ter.

Her Room

Friday, 20 December 2002

i went over to her room last night and watched her pack a lit­tle and drank some wine. it didn’t take much con­vinc­ing to get her to stop and come sit on the fu­ton by me. we talked, i bab­bled, things were slight­ly awk­ward but so very slight­ly it was on­ly no­tice­able if you looked for it. we lis­tend to some U2, some cran­ber­ries and much Smashing Pumpkins. our legs brushed against each oth­er. we talked more and she told me about why she and her old boyfriend split. a whole year ago! and i knew noth­ing un­til it was too late. last year when we had both been hor­ri­bly de­pressed we could have helped each oth­er. we talked more as Adore played and sud­den­ly she asked me what my fa­vorite Pumpkins song was. as i turned to look at her, she was so close to me that my eyes couldn’t fo­cus on her face. i want­ed to kiss her then, but didn’t. did she want me to kiss her? we read some­thing about our zo­di­ac com­pat­i­bil­i­ties. we are both scor­pios, and for the most part we fit the bill with our per­son­al­i­ties, dark and ever-chang­ing. it ap­peared from read­ing the book that the on­ly good match for a scor­pio is a pisces. every­thing else de­struc­ts due to scorpio’s de­sire for con­trol or some­thing. pisces are sub­mis­sive i guess. we both agreed that we didn’t want some­one we could walk over but an equal in­stead. the scorpio/​scorpio match men­tioned some­thing along those same lines, that the dark pas­sions would ei­ther meld seam­less­ly or the ex­act op­po­site. i think we were both think­ing about how well we get along to­geth­er. at least i know i was. as we lis­tend to by starlight, and dis­cussed how beau­ti­ful it was, the vis­it­ing hours end­ed i had to leave. we nev­er did kiss, though i most cer­tain­ly dreamed about it. i want­ed to give her a hug, but felt self-con­scious and gave her a high-five in­stead, which made my self-con­scious­ness bla­tant­ly ob­vi­ous. i miss her and too many op­por­tu­ni­ties. the wine was very good.

Movie Review: Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (here be spoil­ers)

Thursday, 19 December 2002

af­ter the ex­treme qual­i­ty of the first movie in every as­pect, this film was a vast dis­ap­point­ment for me. Hollywood had its dirty mitts all over the plot, adding se­quences that were mean­ing­less for the sto­ry, chang­ing around the struc­ture and tim­ing of the sto­ry it­self, mak­ing char­ac­ters be­have in man­ners ab­solute­ly con­trary to the book. Bah!

The Goods

  1. The char­ac­ters: Gr ma Wormtongue was an ex­cel­lent per­for­mance by Brad Dourif. He man­aged to cap­ture all as­pects, from the snivel­ing fear, the leech­like pres­ence, and the oily words that sway the minds of men. Altogether good. owyn was al­so true to the book, which was very nice to see.
  2. Gollum: could be put in the char­ac­ters cat­e­go­ry ex­cept that he is so much more im­por­tant. I must say that Gollum is per­fect. They man­age to make him a sym­pa­thet­ic char­ac­ter so very quick­ly that it is as­tound­ing. His con­stant switch­es be­tween Sm agol/​Gollum are very ef­fec­tive.
  3. Visuals: Peter Jackson got great art di­rec­tion for these films, every­thing is al­ways beau­ti­ful. The sets re­mind me of some­thing you would ex­pect from a the­atri­cal per­for­mance. This usu­al­ly doesn’t work too well in the fliks but it is ap­pro­pri­ate and even com­pelling for this sto­ry. The spar­ing use of col­or in this film made the in­stances of hue and bright­ness much more stun­ning.
  4. Critters: Wargs were ab­solute­ly amaz­ing. Dingos on steroids and the brown acid from Woodstock. The new mounts for the Ringwraiths are al­so straight out of a John Howe paint­ing. The legs of the Ents were a lit­tle longer than I’d imag­ined but that is just nit­picky af­ter all entstrides are long, they were hoary as all get out and their eyes were just right.

The Livable Changes

  1. The char­ac­ters: Gimli is just com­ic re­lief. Short jokes abound. I’d much rather have him be the loy­al, po­et­ic badass that he is in the books, but I guess I’ll have to set­tle for watch­ing him bench­press two wargs and an orc and fight­ing with Aragorn on the cause­way in­to Helm’s Deep. omer’s ac­tions aren’t quite the same as in the books but the he is the same in spir­it.
  2. Gollum: The par­al­lels be­tween him and Frodo, and Frodo’s recog­ni­tion of what he could be­come are mere­ly im­plied in the books, but are quite ef­fec­tive in the film ver­sion. In fact, I might even like it bet­ter.
  3. Visuals: Why the hell is Rohan so rocky? It is horse coun­try dammit. Oh well. Also, the end­less num­ber of vista shots us­ing cranes and copters got to be a lit­tle too much but they were still beau­ti­ful.
  4. Gandalf: The whole ex­or­cism of Th oden was dif­fer­ent but not nec­es­sar­i­ly wrong. I’d nev­er looked at it from the per­spec­tive that Saruman was lit­er­al­ly pos­sess­ing him. I’d al­ways looked at it as if he was just re­al­ly para­noid and afraid af­ter be­ing sucked up­on by Wormtongue

The Atrocities

  1. The char­ac­ters: Faramir. Totally ab­hor­rent­ly in­cor­rect. The whole point for his pres­ence in the book is to serve as the op­po­site of Boromir and to point out that there are good and no­ble men left in the world fight­ing an un­praised and un­no­ticed fight against Sauron. Aragorn is not the on­ly no­bil­i­ty left. Instead the film makes Faramir a weak­er ver­sion of Boromir who is too sus­pi­cious to make his own de­ci­sions. He is not Dun dain, he is a chode. Th oden. Since when is the King of Rohan an im­po­tent de­featist wastrel? Since when was his de­ci­sion to pro­tect his peo­ple a bad one. In the film he has 300 arms­men and yet is en­cour­aged to ride out and face cer­tain an­ni­hi­la­tion by 10k Uruk-hai. He was a smart man to go to the Deeping Coomb. Jackson overem­pha­sized the dis­par­i­ty in num­bers be­tween men and orcs. even if Th oden had 1,000 men the odds would still have been 10:1.
  2. Plot changes: Haldir show­ing up at Helm’s Deep with a cou­ple hun­dred el­ven archers is nice and all but it nev­er hap­pened. the elves are leav­ing for a rea­son, be­cause it is time for man to grow up and take con­trol over their world. I don’t like the whole in­tent be­hind them show­ing up. The whole scene where Aragorn gets tossed off the cliff is un­nec­ces­sary and is on­ly there to mo­ti­vate the weirdo dream se­quences with Arwen which in turn are on­ly there be­cause Liv Tyler want­ed Arwen to have a larg­er part. She-elf is just sup­posed to be pret­ty and elvish. owyn is sup­posed to be the badass one. The tim­ing of the whole thing is cat­ty­wam­pus; omer is not 300 leagues away (900 miles? my ass.) What about Erkenbrand and the rise of the Eastfold? There are THOUSANDS of Rohirrim not hun­dreds. The film ends halfway through the Two Towers. What about go­ing to Isengard and con­fronting Saruman? What about Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas re­unit­ing with Merry and Pippin? What about the Entdraughts? What about the Huorns de­stroy­ing Saruman’s army as it flees Helm’s Deep? Osgiliath???????? WHEN IN THE FUCK DO FRODO AND SAM GO TO OSGILIATH? Where is Minas Morgul? The Two Towers are not Barad-d r and Orthanc, they are Minas Morgul and Orthanc. Why is the Witch-King not a sen­tient force of evil and in­stead just a ve­hi­cle of fear on a cool winged lizard?

In sum­ma­ry, de­spite the ex­treme­ly well done as­pects of the film, the un­nec­ces­sary and un­mo­ti­vat­ed plot changes mere­ly give ev­i­dence to the Hollywood ten­den­cy to overem­pha­size. The re­sult is a world where ex­treme­ly few men and most of them dis­cour­aged and sus­pi­cious ex­cept for say Aragorn are pit­ted against the gi­nor­mous might of Sauron. This is turn puts much more em­pha­sis on the suc­cess of the Ringbearer at the cost of de­vel­op­ing the com­ing fi­nal stand of the Men of the West. fi­nal grade: B