Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Tonight also hailed the return of HGA (History Graduate Association) and the premiere of Veronica Mars. Although I will always love The O.C., as far as writing and storylines...no one beats Veronica! The episode tonight was no exception and it looks like it will be a very good year!! Oh how I love the return of the season...almost as good as travelling abroad! Now I just have to figure out how to get back to Scotland and meeting up with a certain hot Scotsman...
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
In other non-related news, I started my work study today. It looks like I will be enjoying a nice variety of work, which should allow me the excitement I need. Well that and as my subtitles say...it allows me to procrastinate on the thesis a little bit longer. And really, when you think about it, isn't that what life is about. Choosing to do one thing to avoid another, less-appealing choice. I mean that is why I went to grad school in the first place. Avoid the real world, but still have a good excuse to do so. Well it has worked so far...
Monday, September 26, 2005
In other news, I must say I am thoroughly impressed with Fox's Prison Break. If the eye candy wasn't enough, the show actually has a pretty interesting plot. I have my concerns on whether or not the show can last a whole season. I mean a 4 week prison break taking place over 22 episodes seems a bit much, but if I can stare at Wenworth Miller for an hour a week for 22 weeks a season...well sadly that does give my life some sense of purpose!
So...I have been pondering The Day After Tomorrow recently. No clue why really, except I recently watched the trailer for Brokeback Mountain, which got me thinking about Jake Gyllenhaal...hey I really can't explain how my mind works. Anyway, I realized first of all that I would be of no use if a disaster the magnitude of The Day After Tomorrow did occur. I mean if I am honest, the only work I have ever done is either retail, office related, or for an academic institution. Working as a TA for a couple years has provided me with a lifetime of ‘stupid stories about 18 year olds’ and how to scare students away from office hours, but has not provided me with the knowledge to do anything really useful or practical. I have no clue how to milk a cow - cows by the way scare me - and I like the idea of horses although I have spent only a limited amount of time around them. I have no agricultural skills unless you count the fact that I did keep a tomato plant alive all summer in Bham that had originally been sent from
Along those same thoughts, I have begun to consider what assumptions people would make if a
I could go on and on, but I will leave you, my loyal readers, with my thoughts on my collection of can food. I have collected quite a few tins of can food over the past 2 years, but their presence in my makeshift pantry could lead people to think that I love canned green beans, when the truth is I can’t make myself eat them and will only do so in a time of emergency. The peaches, however, I save for special occasions. Try and figure out that one. In the end, perhaps this is all a bit egotistical of me. Who in their right mind would actually spend their time trying to figure out the inner workings of a grad student’s apartment…especially mine since I can’t even explain it al!
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Tim Burton has done it again. Last night I treated myself to Corpse Bride a highly entertaining film that although it is not as good as the classic The Nightmare Before Christmas. However, that might just be me. Ironically what I didn't like about Corspe Bride was the fact that it looked too good. One of the things I love about Nightmare is the whole rough edge of it...the startled movement of both the puppets (I don't know what else to call them) and the various vehicles and objects. Corpse Bride was simply too good looking, although, if that is my only issue with the film...that ain't bad. I also liked the songs better in Nightmare although that is neither here or there.
The previews before the film were bizarre...and many I hadn't actually watched yet. The one that really threw me off was Nanny McFee. It looks like a wacky and colorful version of Mary Poppins meets The Sound of Music without songs. The film stars Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Kelly MacDonald, Angela Lansbury, Imelda Staunton, Derek Jacobi, and that adorable kid that played Liam Neeson's step-son in Love Actually. I honestly don't fully understand what the film is going to be like, except that Colin Firth has finally recognized that he has a bald spot and will be wearing a wig. I do know that I will be seeing this film, cause really how could anyone resist that cast. Oh and it is the same director as Waking Ned Devine one of the funniest comedies in recent years.
Other than that, no real excitement. I finally got a haircut and did get a hold of my boss to find out when I need to start working. Oh...and I found the absurdity of vampire historical romance novels. I had no clue that this genre even existed, but unfortunately I must admit I am a fan. I mean, how could you not? It is the most brillantly weird stuff I have read since trying to get through most of Irvine Welsh's drug stories. Go figure...I think that grad school has finally broken me. I could explain away most of the other things, even my obsession with Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, but for this I have no words. In the end...grad school does break you and I guess I am lucky that this is one of my many shames. I don't remember where I read this, but it must be true..."There is a fine line between 'hobby' and 'mental illness'". Uni and learning is definitely a hobby that has gotten out of hand.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
I will freely admit that I loved The Bride. It is a great trashy historical book that embraces the genre it which it survives, but does it with grace and a bit of dignity. You like the characters. Alec, the laird of clan Kincaid, is a handsome, rich, highland warrior forced by his king (Edgar of course who is portrayed as a lovable, old soldier) to marry an Englishwoman (HORROR!!!). The Englishwomen he choses, Jamie, of course is beautiful, stubborn, can secretly both ride bareback and speak gaelic, has healing skills, and is completely willing to stand up to him. Of course sparks fly almost immediately between the two, but it takes nearly half the book for Jamie to realize she loves the lout even though not all of his subjects can accept her and it takes him almost the entire book to come to that same conclusion. Of course all of this is aided by the fact the Alec's first wife died under questionable circumstances and Jamie is now the focus of danger and suspense. All in all, the book was fantastic. I mean, of course you know that the killer was the dead wife's loony sister halfway through the book, but still the story remains enjoyable and leaves you with warm fairytale feelings that your own highland laird is just around the bend if only you had a father that would sell you to a distant land and unseen warrior simpy in order to pay off back taxes. I can get behind this story, although I know my own father would never do this of course...at least I don't think so.
Unfortunately, The Wedding, the sequel was the exact same story. Instead of Alec insert Connor, Alec's adoptive brother and substitute Lady Brenna for Jamie as the fiesty English bride that wins the heart of a powerful highland warror. The "traitor" was even a relation only related in marriage and not blood. Instead of crazy ex-sister-in-law...you get nutso step-mother/brother (2 different characters, but both are evil and traitorish and of course get what's coming to them).
However, these similarities are not only the reason I am so peaved at the book or Ms. Garwood. The more upsetting fact is that she changed character's personalities from the first book to the other. In the first book, Jamie is a stubborn, clever, intelligent, and a talented woman that can stand toe to toe with her powerful husband. In the second book, however, the reader is told that Connor has never dealt with a strong-willed woman that that is why he is intriqued with Brenna. So in all the years he lived with Alec in his keep, did Jamie never come near him? Did childrearing dominate her time to such a degree she had to contact with her husband's brother in 15-20 years? Also, characters are exactly the same from book to book, only different names. I mean it is bad enough that the villians in both books are somewhat distant relations, but the dialogue is often even seems the same. The Bride has Gavin and Marcus, Alec's trusted friends and second in command; one who likes his new wife and the other takes time to adjust. For The Wedding subsitute the names with Quinlan and Crispin and there you have it.
Now some of you might be wondering why I would spend so much time discussing this and why it even matters to me or in the grander scheme of life. I may have not paid full price for the book, but I did deserve more for my $5 investment. I am a grad student here...I should at least get an original crap historical romance story. Is that simply too much to ask? A bit more class for the genre? Or respectability? But in the end this will not sway me from the genre as a whole. If anything, crap historical romance novels have gotten me through grad school and have helped to not completely turned me into one of those quasi-prentious grad students that The Simpsons mocked last year in a episode.
The family had gone to see an Albainian art film and of course everyone but Lisa got bored. As they walked out of the theatre, Bart waved a man's ponytail (that he had removed from the guy sitting in front of him) and then held it to the back of his head and sneered, "Loot at me, I'm a grad student! I made $600 last year!" Marge, of course, corrects him and says, "Don't be mean. Grad students are nice people; they just made bad life choices." Well at least I have that to cling to...I can fully appreciate the clichéd and banal!
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Now onto more important things...my town has been once again invaded by college students. I mean I do understand that technically I am one of them, but still I have to argue in my defense that I am much more superior and far less annoying. No matter what, buying milk should never take 45 minutes. That should be a law. Oh...and they drive like idiots. C'est la vive I guess.
Meanwhile, the fall schedule isn't looking very good. I have tried 4 of the new shows and found them far from inventive or interesting...except for one. People who know me, know I am a sucker for bad tv shows. I have watched 2 full years of One Tree Hill and own The Nanny on DVD, but still the fall 2005 season has been disappointing. Bones failed to interest me, Invasion seemed like a rip off of a B movie concept mixed with leftovers from Lost. And how do I even begin to describe the pain that was Fox's Head Cases. The only promising show has been Prison Break...which still baffles me. How is a 4 week prison break supposed to last 22 episodes. However, I can pretty much promise I will watch all 22 episodes and I'll give you the reason why...Wentworth Miller...I don't care if the show never really goes anywhere. I could stare into his eyes forever and man is he built. I guess 1 out of 4 ain't bad...
Well, I must bid all my readers (those hypothetical readers I wrote of yesterday of course) a good night. Tomorrow brings my first trip up to campus since the school year began and the the circus that is Western...Therefore I leave you with these wise words...
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
In true northwest fashion my mood was lifted by a good cup of coffee at Starbucks. The weather even cooperated enough to allow sunshine for the whole afternoon. As if that wasn't enough I got taken to a free movie. I mean, what movie freak could ask for anything more. At this point, I'd like to take a moment to relate how much I am looking forward to the new Johnny Cash biopic. I have seen the preview for Walk the Line twice now on the big screen and I can't wait to see the film. After a horrid summer at the movies, I am looking forward to a better fall. Let's face it folks...it really can't get worse.
But I digress...Lord of War (the film I was treated to tonight) turned out to be phenomenal and disturbing. The man who brought us Gattaca, an interesting look at the future, and wrote The Truman Show and The Terminal, two films I have seen more times than I care to admit, has done it again. Although this time, the material Andrew Niccol elequently provides hits closer to home and makes you really begin to wonder about the world we are living in and leaving for our children (in my case, though, the latter remain hypothetical of course). Perhaps, to save my sanity, I will simply block it out and try and recall the joyous feelings produced by Just Like Heaven only a few days ago, however I unfortunately know that will solve nothing. Therefore I leave you dear readers (again hypothetical of course) with the sentiments from another movie that makes you wonder about the times in which we live...Trainspotting...don't worry I didn't include any of the cussing just yet...I'll save it for later this fall. If only it was that simple!
-Mark "Rent-Boy" Renton
(sorry I lied about the cussing...)