Lazy Day at Home

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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