This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Aeon Flux Comes Out Today.

I don't understand why those Hollywood bigwigs even bothered to make an Aeon Flux movie. If there was ever a concept that was made for an indie film or a "B" movie, Aeon Flux is it. How can they hope to duplicate the insanity of the giant baby? Or the David Bowie-inspired weirdness that permeated everything? Or the little animals with the pill inside them? Or the fact that Aeon would die at the end of one episode and be fine the next week? Call me a skeptic, but I highly doubt that they'll even try to be faithful to the original MTV show. They're clearly counting on the fact that nobody but me and a select few of my cohorts even remembers it.

Looking at trailers and the IMDB, there are specific things that trouble me about this movie:
  1. It could only be good if directed by a mad genius (such as Peter Chung, the creator of the original show). This movie is directed by the "mad genius" behind 2000's Girlfight. Did that movie feature David Bowie-inspired death machines? Cuz if it didn't, she's not qualified.
  2. Peter Chung sold the concept to these hacks, and is no longer involved in the creative process. This is like if Baz Luhrmann made an X-Files movie. Do we need a musical involving Skuller and Muldy? No.
  3. Instead of getting David Bowie to play the lead in David Bowie World, they got the guy who played Celeborn in "LOTR:ROTK." What is David Bowie doing these days that you can't line him up for this?
  4. I don't see any "Giant Baby" listed in the credits.
  5. Neither do I see "AJ Robar."*
  6. Neither do I see a "Humanoid with a Crotch that Goes Up to its Chest."
  7. It appears the movie has a linear plot. Why would Aeon Flux have a linear plot?
  8. It also appears that, after the movie is over, I will unfortunately know What The Heck Just Happened. A good episode of Aeon Flux would never allow me to know that.
  9. There are 53 characters in this movie, according to the IMDB. Unless they all get killed, there's not going to be nearly enough violence.
Still, I'm probably going to see it tomorrow, and I can't wait for the disappointment.

*This joke is so inside, I kinda wonder why I even bothered with it. Suffice it to say that there was this guy at my high school that looked like one of the recurring characters on the show. Now you know. Don't expect me to explain another inside joke. That was a freebee, because I love you.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

It's Hard to Know Where to Start, Part 3: White Man's Friday

The Friday after Thanksgiving has gotten totally out of hand, shopping-wise. It never seemed this way when I was growing up -- but then again, I wasn't an adult USA woman back then. I'm not one now, either, but I do have the misfortune of working in a consumer electronics store. Therefore, I get to see the madness up close every year, even though I'm the last person who would actually do any shopping on the day after thanksgiving. It's crazy out there! I can't think of a deal that would make me show up at Wal-Mart at 5am and risk getting trampled. Ok, maybe a David Foster Wallace book signing, but only if it's at the one near my home. Why he would be doing a book signing at Wal-Mart I have no idea, but I'd have to at least consider braving that scene if he were there.

(I made that reference because of this book, which comes out Dec. 13. I simply must own it.)

Anyway, like I said, I work at a consumer electronics store. This year, CE retailers have slashed prices to abominable and unheard-of levels in an effort to kill me. That's the only way I can explain away their acceptance of things like massive theft, customer fights, and a Walmart-ian 3% margin. The day stunk, as you might well expect. I spent almost my entire time there taking credit card applications from people, and then later handing them their papers of judgment which indicated whether or not they had been "instantly approved" ("instantly" meaning, in credit-card company speak," within 30 minutes"). I actually helped out a lot, and the store gave great customer service, considering how busy we were.

(of course, I wasn't able to do my actual job at all that day, but I guess all the stuff I've been doing the last 4 years isn't really important after all. The stuff I hate to do, whatever that might be, is the stuff that gets priority.)

The best part of Black Friday is the fights, no doubt about that. There was a line-fight (a fight about who was first in line) that I almost had to break up. Put it this way, there was talk of "going outside." People are so funny. A couple of minutes later, the guy who wanted to go outside told the other guy that he was sorry and they shook hands. They were still totally mad at each other, though.

The second fight that day I didn't actually see, but I hear it went like this: A lady cuts in line by her friend, the guy behind them takes exception, the lady tells him to not care, the man grabs the woman's arm and starts to physically pull her behind him, the cops step in and are like, "woah, there, buckuh," and they make the lady go to the back of the line. Having cops at the front entrance was a really good idea -- it couldn't have come from someone at this store.

As for all my other Black Friday exploits, are they not written in the Annals of...well, nothing, because they're boring? Yes, they are written in nothingness forever. All those precious wasted years -- who will pay?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

It's Hard to Know Where to Start, Part 2: Lost

I need those TPS reports on my desk by noon, John. And put that knife down.
My wife and I started watching Lost on Saturday, and had gotten through the first 2 DVD's by Sunday afternoon. That's 8 episodes, people. There's something about watching these shows with long-lasting story arcs back-to-back-to-back that just sucks you in. It was the same way with Alias. When I catch up to where the rest of the world is (the middle of season 2), I will let you know what I think about it, and where things might go. For now, I will make a couple of obvious points.

1) I have never seen or heard one of the people behind the show (producers, writers, actors, etc.) reference the show Twin Peaks as an influence, but they should probably check it out, because they are totally ripping it off. If they don't, they are doomed to repeat its late-period mistakes. At this point, they are creating a lot of forward momentum. Soon, they will have to provide payoffs, though -- otherwise people will get frustrated. They need to keep the sense that there's a plan behind all this, and that the writers aren't just making crazy crap up as they go along. They need to keep America convinced that the emperor has clothes, and that it will be worthwhile to keep following it because eventually the mysteries will be revealed. There are two possible things that could kill the show : (a) revealing mysteries too early without even more mysterious mysteries to replace them; or, (b) losing track of where the many-splendoured narrative has been and where it's going.

It's no secret that Twin Peaks first fell victim to (a) after they painted themselves into a corner (or, more accurately, ABC painted them into a corner) by teasing the audience over and over again. America can only take so much teasing -- just ask the French. After the main mystery of the series was revealed(Who Killed Laura Palmer?), they had nothing to replace it with, and by that time the show's creators had gone on to other projects, leaving less-talented story makers to basically write a story from scratch using Twin Peaks characters. This led very quickly to (b), the most obvious example of which was a by-mail chess game between the protagonist and the antagonist that just inexplicably went away and never was mentioned again because the writers lost interest.

I'm only eight episodes in, but I can see that the show has bought itself some time by slowly revealing the lostaways' backstories over time. It's amazing to me that a show with a story that depends so much on the viewer watching every single episode has done so well in the ratings. In a way, it's a lot like Alias (as it should be, since JJ Abrams is heavily involved in both shows) in that the narrative just keeps launching forward with amazing revelations and bizarre happenings that there always seems to be a danger that it could just burn out. Of course, the writers of Lost have set up so much weird stuff that it even if they devoted the rest of the show to explaining what's going on it would take 10 episodes to satisfactorially complete. That's what I mean about introducing new mysteries as you solve old ones. At this point, I'm half-expecting Rambaldi to show up carrying a radio made out of coconuts. If that happens, I'm outta here.

For example, the next real-time episode is supposed to reveal what Kate did to deserve that mugshot and that butt-chinned Marshall chasing after her. Had they done that in episode 5, it would have been a herculean deal, because at that point everybody wanted to know what the nice girl could have done. Waiting until now has made us wonder all this time, but it's now like 20th on the list of things we'd like to know. Revealing it isn't a danger to the show like the revelation on Twin Peaks was.

Anyway, I really really like Lost so far, and I'm sure I'll be caught up real soon. I don't even want to think about how long that post is going to be.

Monday, November 28, 2005

It's Hard to Know Where to Start -- Part 1: Mudstorm

Since I last posted, many things have happened to me. Let's go in reverse order, because reverse order is always more fun -- just ask David Lettermann.

Last night a West Texas windstorm swooped in on Dallas. If there's one weather phenomenon I cannot stand, it's a windstorm. Now, on the front end of it there were a bunch of tornados, but those missed us and hit Arkansas. I guess we should be thankful for that. However, this windstorm was quite annoying -- the weather equivalent of a little kid holding his finger an inch away from your eye and yelling "I'm not touching you!" And it wasn't the wind so much as the bizarre mudstorm it caused. Let me explain:

The stupid wind kicked up all the extra dust that is just sitting around here all the time because they built this city not on rock & roll but on the desert, apparently. As I drove last night, there was a haze around me -- a haze of dirt. It didn't get on my clothes or anything, but it was there. You could totally see it surrounding the streetlights. Along with the deadly dust came an intermittent drizzle, barely enough to notice by itself. But just like the time Sandman and Hydro-man combined to form an embarassing and muddy mess (which embarassment caused Sandman to renouce his life of crime)*, the drizzle combined with the dirt to coat everyone's cars with a thin layer of dirt. The water/dirt would hit the car, then the water would quickly be blown away by the wind, leaving a cute little dirt splotch behind. I wasted a bunch of windshield washer fluid over the course of the night trying to keep my view dirt-free, and the non-wiper portions of mine and everyone else's cars are now as filthy as a character on Lost.

Side note: good luck trying to find a weather report on the radio in Dallas on Sunday night. I guess if it's not a tornado or monkey-sized hail, we don't need to know about it.

*Ed. note: Amazing Spider-Man 217-218.