Archive for April, 2006

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Moment of Clarity #12

April 30, 2006

Here’s a startling realization: The “number” column in your iTunes “purchased” folder is very nearly a dollar value. Put a $ before the numbers and you get a reasonable estimate of the money you’ve spent on iTunes. (Yes, this doesn’t count free singles and multi-passes. But that sort of nonsense is just the rationalization that let’s you go on buying despite your better judgment.)

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Weddings, Zorro, Star Trek and the Irish

April 24, 2006

RockyThis is one of those self-indulgent entries I write before I bury my head into a final stretch of late-night work. You know me.

First of all, Brian is going to marry Debz. I don’t know what that weird blue ripply thing is at the top of his site, but it doesn’t seem to matter — she said yes. He proposed knee-deep in the Atlantic, off Jekyll Island here in Georgia. Being me, and not having been to Jekyll Island, I engage this factoid only by hitting it with another factoid, like asteroids in the useless black of trivia: Jekyll Island is where they shot a bunch of the Deep South stuff in Glory. You’re glad to know that.

Next up, Alison has triumphantly landed herself a job at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In New York. I’ve never been, but I hear that’s where Law & Order is.

Marty, meanwhile, is in Ireland right now, which is a glorious boon for him. I’ve been to Scotland, England and Wales, which are like Ireland, but with dignity. And snakes. Or something. I’m pretty sure they shot The Secret of Roan Inish in Ireland, but I fell asleep during that movie, as I did flying back to the States, maybe somewhere over Ireland. (These comments at the expense of the Irish go out to Justin, by the way.) Anyway, Marty, if you want to bring me back an old-fashioned longbow, that’d be great.

In other news, Paramount is desperate to report that they know J.J. Abrams (Alias, Lost) does good work and that Mission: Impossible wasn’t the only adventure series they had on the air in the 1960s. So they’re having J.J. tackle a Star Trek movie. (Bryan Singer, I imagine, they expect to be too expensive after his Superman movie.) Now, I’m a big Star Trek fan — big enough that I have to hide the extent of it from my co-workers, many of whom play D&D every week, remember — but I’ll tell you why this is a Bad Idea:

Paramount’s announcing that J.J. Abrams will be directing Kirk and Spock Go to Starfleet Academy, a feature concept so good that executives ditched it in favor of Shatner’s Star Trek V: The One Where They Talk to God. (This was just after they’d finished the de facto Trek trilogy with Star Trek IV: The One With the Whales and were trying to figure out what to do with the franchise next.) Despite being a bad idea when people still vaguely cared about Kirk and Spock, they’re actually pushing ahead with it now.

I have to imagine that this thought went through some executive’s head:

EXECUTIVE: Hey, maybe if this one tanks we can blame it on Casino Royale.

If the banner ads I see everywhere are any indication, the current appeal of the original Star Trek series is as genre kitsch. (I say despite other, perfectly reasonable reasons to like to that show coming to mind.) What’re they going to do? Address the ’60s stylings of the show with a wink and and some hair gel, a la Deep Space Nine‘s (admittedly terrific) “Trials and Tribble-ations?” ‘Cause they did that already, but I doubt it’s a smart way to revitalize the franchise. Are they going to re-imagine the whole thing, leaving open the possibility of recasting Spock as, in my brother’s kind of words, “a babe?” This let’s them dodge any visual questions (e.g. “Where the hell’s the miniskirts?!”) but flushes a billion hours of existing Trek, for better or worse.

If they don’t re-boot the property with this movie, how many movies do they think they can get out of “Kirk and Spock: The College Years?” Is it going to be a Trek franchise in the tradition of the Harry Potter movies? ‘Cause while that’s sort of intriguing, it’s also insanely silly and probably better done with whole new characters — or a whole new property.

To be fair, giving J.J. Abrams control of Star Trek isn’t a terrible idea. I mean, it seems as painfully formulaic as every other Trek decision made in the 21st century (“Hey, let’s get that kid to do our other franchise! Do we have any old scripts around? Do we have to pay Harve Bennet if we use this one?”), but at least it’s the kind of majorly new thing they should be doing with the franchise. Going back to Kirk and Spock doesn’t even seem like such a terrible idea if we’re talking about re-imagining the property — that’s bold, that’s good — but this “Academy Years” idea reeks a little bit.

I’d love to be proven wrong, but this precarious premise is being handled by the fellas who brought us The Legend of Zorro, which I just saw this weekend. (Lost fans, look for Henry Gale as a strangely intense and villainous Pinkerton.) That movie is also admirably bold in a few ways, but I just can’t call it successful.

If Paramount was really smart, they’d put a new Mission: Impossible series on the air, first. Take advantage of Alias‘s departure and put it on right after The Unit, as a dessert show. Let J.J. and Co. build that, then decide what to do about Star Trek.

One potentially magnificent thing about an Abrams-directed Star Trek reboot, though: Letting Michael Giacchino (Mission: Impossible 3, The Incredibles, Medal of Honor) record his version of Alexander Courage’s original Trek theme.

[Note: If you haven’t heard, Kanye West’s remixed theme for M:I:III is pretty weak. Its bass mix is good, but everything else just doesn’t stir. I wait, unafraid, for Giacchino’s score, though.]

Noise: She Wants Revenge, “Tear You Apart”

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Hell Yes, Hellboy

April 17, 2006

The newest Hellboy trade paperback came out this week. I subscribe to all things Hellboy and BPRD through the normally excellent Criminal Records comic book division in Little Five Points, but this week I didn’t get the only two things I ran out at there after work to get. On the day they came out. I’m a greedy, materialistic maroon — it bugs me when I know other people are reading things that I want but don’t have. People who didn’t drop emails to let the comic guys know that Dark Horse had shipped Strange Places a week early. People who don’t subscribe. People who got the last issue of the cataclysmic “Black Flame” series, which somehow missed my subscription box that week. (I still don’t know how it ends.)

Then I think about all the stuff I’ve meant to give to other people and haven’t. Then I feel like an ass. Then I write about it on my blog and remember that there are many kinds of Selfish. Can you count all the Selfish in this post, Timmy?

I knew you could.

Noise: The Dust Brothers, “Jack’s Smirking Revenge”

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In a Bookstore in Philly

April 9, 2006

Bookstore Sign, Philly
Originally uploaded by photoq.

The youth of a book is short. Treat a book as you would a lady.

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Hit Gamers With Rocks

April 7, 2006

First of all, the newest issue of The Escapist has some really fascinating backstory on the business and history of Nintendo. Go look at that stuff.

Second, let me ask you: Is exposition storytelling?

Noise: Ladytron, “Destroy Everything You Touch”

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OK. Go.

April 3, 2006

OK Go first appeared on my radar through This American Life. Since then, they’ve continued to be brilliant. Here’s an example:

Follow them to their YouTube group (also brilliant) and see how other people are interpreting this complex routine… by reproducing it almost exactly.

The internet is glorious and weird.

Noise:Nine Black Alps, “Cosmopolitan”