Sunday, March 29, 2009

Movies I've Watched: 'Sweeney Todd'

I've seen this before. Where? Oh, right, every Tim Burton movie EVER

I don't really have a lot to say about this one.

Except this:

Tim Burton, please get over yourself. Cast some diferent people, for the love of pete. This has got to the point where all it makes me think of is that annoying couple of kids in high school who ALWAYS got cast as leads in the school plays because they were best buds with the directors and each other. After the first two, you just didn't want to see those kids in a play again. I am sick to death of seeing Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter in your movies. I think they're both good actors, but I'm sick of seeing only them in your movies. Do you not have any other friends?

And it's too bad, because this is a musical with some seriously great songs. The supporting actors do fantastic jobs in their roles (the kid and Sasha Baron Cohen particularly). It's a terribly violent film, yes, but it could've been a great piece of bizarre musical cinema. Unfortunately, Burton just turns it into Another Burton Movie. We've seen all this many, many times before. And frankly, it's just boring now.

I'm really quite sick of Tim Burton and his buddies.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Book #20: 'Marie Antoinette' by Hilaire Belloc

This is the second paragraph in Hilaire Belloc's brilliant book, 'Marie Antoinette':

The Queen of France whose end is but an episode in the story of the Revolution stands apart in this: that while all around her were achieved the principal miracles of the human will, she alone suffered, by an unique exception, a fixed destiny against which the will seemed powerless. In person she was not considerable, in temperament not exalted; but her fate was enormous"

In a few sentences, the tone of the book is set. This isn't a sentimental, ponderous biography narrating the every day life of the last Queen of France--it's an intellectual, detailed study of the world that surrounded one of the most fascinating women in history. And it's an immensely engrossing read.

Written in 1909 by the historian Hilaire Belloc, 'Marie Antoinette' starts not with the birth of the Austrian princess, but with a quick summary of where Europe stood in the middle of the 18th century. It's a perfect introduction, because as he states repeatedly, there is no way to understand the life of Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution without knowing exactly what the world around her was like. The rest of the book is told in much the same way. Belloc follows the life of Marie Antoinette not so much by trying to analyze her personality (we come to see that there's not much to explain there) but by detailing the world that she was thrown into at the age of 13, a world that was already boiling with potential disaster.

There has been a lot written about Marie Antoinette, and like any other prominent figure in history, the best known things about her are largely lies. Belloc aims not to defend her, but to put things right with nothing but facts and academic conclusions; he dismisses rumors and focuses on absolute truths. And the simple truth is that Marie Antoinette was born a princess of an immensely rich kingdom, uneducated and spoiled, who was married at 13 to a man she had never met, who came to unexpectedly inherit a kingdom that was falling apart at the seams. Ignorant and impulsive, she was a woman who never understood the country that had become her home. She was extravagant and spent millions on her entertainment, but in a world where the Monarchy and the aristocracy had almost unlimited power and resources, she would have gone largely unnoticed at any other point in history. But this was France in the 18th Century. The country was a mess, with massive debts after the wars of Louis XIV, potential conflicts on all its borders, a starving population and a crumbling economy. In such a climate, Marie Antoinette became the most visible (and therefore the most hated) symbol of a crumbling monarchy, and her every action became scandalous to the public. The revolution was coming, but she had no idea.

Belloc points out time and time again that Marie Antoinette never understood the people she was ruling, or what was happening around her. She was never educated in diplomacy or international affairs, simply because it wasn't important to a woman of her class. She was not supposed to understand the life of the poor, and so she could never understand why she was so hated by the French public. Her husband, Louis XVI, King of France, was a weak and indecisive man who indulged her every whim. And thus the two were completely helpless and confused when the Revolution exploded. Everything Marie Antoinette did, every ignorant or impulsive mistake she made was magnified by the public, and Belloc lets us understand exactly why she was doomed to her fate. By explaining complicated diplomatic allegiances, economic problems and the way France worked, Belloc lets us understand Marie Antoinette, the perception the public had of her, and the idea we have of her today.

This is a very dense, very academic book. Belloc is a historian writing for other historians, and sometimes the book gets quite challenging. He'll name a place or a person, say something like "but we all know how that ended, so I won't cover it here", and dismisses it. It's important to remember that 100 years ago, when this was written, the French Revolution was still very much a relevant event in the world, and so Belloc assumes that his readers will have an extensive knowledge of what to him is fairly recent history. It's very handy to have Wikipedia at hand, is what I'm saying. It doesn't really hinder the reading, but sometimes the book can get confusing and some background knowledge is helpful. It's definitely not a book for light readers, as it requires a lot of concentration and a good memory, and it is absolutely worth it.

I loved this book. It took me a long time to read it, but I would go through it again any time. I'm a history buff, and it's great to read a book that deals with every historical aspect surrounding a famous figure. I finally have a well-informed idea of Marie Antoinette and the french revolution, one that isn't biased or sentimental, just purely historical and objective. Marie Antoinette was a remarkable woman, but not through her own merit. Rather, she was made remarkable and memorable by the events and extraordinary circumstances in which he lived, most of which she had absolutely no control over. Hers is a fascinating story, and I am very glad that I understand it better now.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Conversation.

[translated of course]

Mom: When are you gonna give the dogs a bath?
Me: I did! I gave Matisse and Angus a bath on Thursday! Look how clean they are.
Mom: Okay...but what about Oreo?
Me: ....he's too dirty. don't want to give Oreo a bath because he's too dirty?
Me: yeaaah...
Mom: You have no shame.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Book #19: 'Hannibal' by Thomas Harris

Everyone knows Hannibal Lecter. Undoubtedly one of the greatest (if not the best) fictional villains of all time, Hannibal the Cannibal and his unique brand of charming evil has become a classic element of pop culture. Even if you haven't watched the brilliant Silence of the Lambs, it's a safe bet you've heard him quoted somewhere. He's an incredible creation: a flesh-eating monster who is disarmingly elegant and charming, a character who dares you to not like him, or to not be fascinated by him. It's all fancy wines and truffles until you remember that he eats people. But don't worry, it's mostly bad people he eats. Or at least that's what Thomas Harris wants you to remember.

Hannibal is the third book of the Lecter series, taking place seven years after the events recorded in Silence of the Lambs. Lecter has escaped and for seven years has eluded capture, traipsing around the world, reveling in the inability of the authorities to recapture him. He's finally settled in Florence, with an altered face and a high-class job as a museum scholar, cultivating his elegant tastes and not worrying about a thing. But plenty of people are still thinking about him, and he is still obsessed with FBI agent Clarice Starling. Disturbingly obsessed, of course.

We learn that Mason Verger, a millionaire who was disfigured and paralyzed by Lecter years ago, has spent millions trying to hunt him down, and he has managed to track him down to Florence. There, he buys off a corrupt cop to track Lecter down and bring him alive to the US where Verger can carry out his revenge. Through all this, Clarice Starling is also trying to track down Lecter, after receiving a letter from him following a botched FBI operation. She's mostly pushed into the background, however, serving only as a way to bring out Lecter and making every other character look horrible. She's about the only decent character, which is where the book lost me.

See, the plot is good. It's one long chase scene, tense and frightening, though disturbingly graphic in parts. Lecter keeps slipping away, Verger becomes more brutal, everyone else keeps screwing things up.

But Harris' characters are lousy, and the way he tries to manipulate the reader's feelings is intrusive and not subtle at all. His own love for the character of Lecter is obvious, and he wants you to fall in love with him as well. Lecter is portrayed as the perfect gentleman, a sophisticated snob who wants to lead a quiet life of indulging in expensive tastes, only a victim of corrupt people who don't want to let him be free. He just happens to be a completely remorseless monster (Harris calls him a monster repeatedly, but it's almost like he doesn't mean it) who kills time and time again in increasingly repulsive ways. But Harris wants you to forget that, by making every character who is after Lecter (except Clarice) a horrible excuse for a human being. Every other character is corrupt, dirty, psychotic or deeply disturbed, petty and vengeful. Everyone (but Clarice) can be bought. And it's just too damn easy, because by making every character unlikeable, Lecter looks positively saintly, which is exactly what he wants you to think. He's trying to make you feel conflicted, but the way he goes about it is clumsy and cheap, and his tricks of manipulation are so transparent that they just didn't work for me. It's like he's going "ha-ha! see what I did? You like a monster!" and winking at you. But it didn't work for me. It just made me hate everyone in this book.

Even Clarice Starling, who was such an outstanding heroine in Silence of the Lambs (the movie at least, I haven't read the book), is given little personality outside of how Lecter sees her. Harris paints her only as a disturbed psychological patient of Lecter's, who is thrown around by every male character with power. She's not exactly helpless, but she's far from an interesting character here. And there are only three other female characters in the book; a robber, a disturbed lesbian (Verger's sister) and Clarice's roommate, who is largely useless. Harris just doesn't seem to value women very much.

And then there's the ending. Oh, lord, the ending. I won't spoil it, but let me just say that I was so angry and disturbed by it that I almost gagged. I don't know what Harris was going for here, but I doubt it was disgust at his book. He romanticizes Lecter to a seriously disturbing degree, and the ending just left me feeling dirty, wondering what the hell was wrong with this author. If the rest of the book doesn't turn you off, the ending surely will.

It's a shame, really. Harris is a good writer, with an intellectual voice that works well with his subject. Unfortunately, the book is weakened by cheap manipulation and bad characters, not to mention disturbingly graphic scenes that seem right out of a torture-porn movie. Hannibal Lecter is still a great villain, but I would've been happier not knowing anything more about him after Silence of the Lambs. The book just doesn't work.

One last thing. For the love of everything holy, don't watch the movie. Stay far, far away from it.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Introducing the Sunday Hot Post

Presenting the first [blogspot] edition of the Sunday Hot Post!

As the name implies, every Sunday (because we all need something to brace us for the upcoming week) I will be posting a "column" dedicated to the best of the ridiculously good looking people out there. Because I can, because I want to, and because everyone likes looking at pretty people. It's my blog and I'll indulge if I want to.

so, to start us off, I present...

Five Hottest Men Currently Working in TV: The Figgy Edition*

*For all intents and purposes this means you're wrong and I'm right.

In order of hotness:

1. Jon Hamm (Mad Men, 30 Rock)

I've already expanded on the subject of the lovely Mr Hamm before. His recent appearances on 30 Rock have only made him seem more charming, more ridiculously handsome, and most important of all, more likeable. He doesn't seem to have any of that self-loving swagger that so many "hot" celebrities carry around. He's funny, smart, and refreshingly approachable. Of course, this last just means he'd probably be easier to stalk.

"There has to be a mathematical formula for how handsome I am"

2. Naveen Andrews (Lost)

There is no one who could kick more ass than Sayid does. Not only is he a righteous badass with a sensitive side, but he's also the smartest man on Craphole Island, and refuses to take bullshit from stupid Jack the eternal crybaby, or anyone else. Andrews plays the role perfectly, making Sayid one of the best and most complex characters on the show. And the best thing about him? He spends almost the entirety of the show wearing tiny, tightly-fitting shirts and permanently sexy wet hair.

3. Josh Holloway (Lost)

The dimples. The hair. The accent. The almost constant shirtlessness on Lost. What more can you want? I used to hate Sawyer, but Holloway makes him impossible to hate. He's turned what could be a cliche character into a surprisingly complex one, still irritating but hilarious, a charming smartass who is also ridiculously hot. He's a great actor, too, and the latest episode of Lost was possibly his best work yet.

4. Nathan Fillion (Castle)

Despite the stench of Whedon about him, Fillion has charmed his way into my cold, yet mushy heart. The man is not only cute as hell, but he's got a massive likeability factor that really should make him go mainstream soon. That grin of his.

I hate that this almost makes me want to watch more Firefly. Almost

5. Eric Dane (Grey's Anatomy)

Do you have any idea how hard it is to find non-shirtless photos of this guy from the show? very hard.

Let me get this out of the way first: Grey's Anatomy is a lousy show. It started out soapy-good, but has lately turned into unending melodrama and annoying characters. But I watch it on reruns, or at least the episodes I can stomach. And through them all it's not Patrick Dempsey who stands out. He's boring. Boring like a piece of toast. No, it's Eric Dane as Mark (McSteamy, though I hate writing that word) who steals just about every scene he's in. He plays a sexy, womanizing cad and plays him damn well, and it helps that he's shirtless a lot of the time. A lot. And he's sexy, did I mention that?

^most of the photos are like that.

Honorable mentions:
Jamie Bamber (BSG)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Grey's Anatomy)
Gordon Ramsay (Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares)
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)

That's my list.

Anyone you'd exclude? include?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Movies I've Watched: The Descent

(Holy crap, how awesome is this poster?)
Oh...boy. This was an awesome movie. A perfect horror film with all the required elements: working on a primal fear (claustrophobia), characters losing their minds, darkness, creepy sounds and just about the creepiest monsters I have ever seen in a film.

I loved it, even if I was completely tense and terrified through most of it. That just means it was effective. The atmosphere is perfect--all small bits of natural light in the middle of a pitch-black cave, barely any music, just sounds and echos that would be terrifying on their own. And one thing I absolutely loved was the fact that, unlike in most horror films, I didn't hate the characters. They were real, therefore a little dumb (like any of us would be if terrified out of our minds), and a couple of them were totally badass, another rarity in horror films starring women. They fought back, and they fought back hard. I liked that.

So another awesome horror film, though I don't think I'd be watching it again--too much of the tension would be lost knowing what's going to happen, I think. But definitely a remarkable movie, particularly compared to the rest of the dreck in the genre, and I definitely recommend it if horror is your thing.

One thing I wouldn't recommend is watching it like I did: alone, in the middle of the night, in a mostly-empty house whose back yard runs right into a mountain. I had to stay up watching Cartoon Network for about 2 hours before I could fall asleep. Because I am a wuss, and yet I love watching horror movies.

It was so much fun.

*And yes, I know it's echoing the Dali photo (, and I think that just makes it cooler.

Monday, March 16, 2009


"Snatch" is a great freakin' movie. My only problem with it is that there's no Shirtless Statham. It would make the movie perfect.

Brad Pitt? Nah. I find him as attractive as a piece of toast. Statham? Even fully clothed, he smolders.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Movies I've Watched: 28 Weeks Later

This just aired on my local movie channel. It's my second viewing, so I have a cooler head about it now. I thought I'd write a somewhat incoherent review, just for the hell of it

I wanted to love this movie. I really did. I thought 28 Days Later was a fantastic piece of filmmaking, particularly in a genre that's become so cliched and laughable. It was one hell of a scary movie; disturbing, shocking, but more than anything it was realistic. It's one of my favorite movies of all time, and the only horror film. Plus, it's the best zombie movie of all time, and I love zombie movies.

The sequel? Not so much. Sure, it's a visually stunning film, jarring and completely breathtaking in parts. And it's just so close to perfection that its failings seem bigger and more frustrating. It's so close.

But it's also full of massively stupid plot holes. Things that make you want to pull your hair out, because with just a tiny bit more thought they could've been avoided in favor of more logical plot twists. It wouldn't take much. The plot (the infection breaks out again, obviously) could've been kept much the same without some of the ridiculous coincidences that keep it moving forward. The tight pace and tension of the story is just broken up by characters doing something dumb or by glaring mistakes that make everyone in the movie look stupid. Who is running security in this place?. Oh yeah, the Americans. This is all their fault.

I guess my biggest problem with the movie is that it's painfully predictable. It goes from being a potentially smart horror film to one of those bad all-teen casts where, if someone says 'don't go there, it could be horribly bad!', you know someone's gonna go there, or if someone says 'don't touch that!', you know someone will touch it. It's annoying, and anyone with half a brain can see every plot twist coming a mile away. And it all could've been avoided by some very minor changes. Why make everyone so stupid? And why put children in it? Children ruin EVERYTHING.

And I hate that they make four of these dumbasses responsible for everything. The first movie was a lot bigger in scope, it had a few people dealing with horror. This one still has the big empty landscapes but makes the few people responsible for the horror. And they want us to feel sorry for them? Sorry, I can't sympathize with morons.

Anyway, it's not a terribly bad movie, specially taken on its own. It's perfectly serviceable as a late-night horror movie when you have nothing to do. The subway scene alone is gonna freak you the hell out. It's a pretty good zombie movie, too.

Just not worthy of following Danny Boyle's masterpiece.

And oh man, enough with the shaky cam.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Book #18: 'The Partner' by John Grisham

Much like "The Testament", the only other Grisham book I've read, "The Partner" was a pleasant, entertaining surprise. It's a fast, deeply satisfying read that keeps you hooked throughout, with a non-stop pace and a plot full of twists and surprises. Like "The Testament", it's a story about greed and comeuppance, about men fighting to outwit each other using whatever means available.

The book starts with the capture and torture of a fugitive, Patrick Lanigan, who was believed dead but has been hiding in Brazil for the past four years. It's a shocking, electric start that immediately hooks you into the story; Grisham places us right in the middle of an ongoing story, dropping enough hints to keep you wanting to know more and to keep reading. Lanigan is taken back to the United States, where the initial shock of his resurrection is quickly followed by a barrage of lawsuits thrown at Lanigan from 5 or 6 different places. We discover that Lanigan faked his death, stole 90 million dollars from a client his old law firm was defending and proceeded to disappear for four years. We, along with the many lawyers and investigators assigned to Lanigan's case, slowly begin to unravel the mystery of the man's disappearance; why and how he stole the money, how he faked his death, how he disappeared, how he was found, what's going to happen now that he's found. It's a complicated, messy case that's simply fascinating to follow, and Grisham makes sure to keep us wondering right to the very last page.

Grisham also loves to play with our feelings towards the main characters. He presents Lanigan as a victim instead of a criminal, and you start out wondering why we should feel any sympathy for him. He stole 90 million dollars and ran away! he faked his death and left behind all his friends and his family! Why am I supposed to like this guy? And yet, the more we get to know the case and the other characters, the more we come to (grudgingly at first) respect and like Lanigan. It's not like Grisham gives us much choice, setting the story in a world where everyone is corrupt and dirty, where men fool around with fortunes and millions as if they're toys, using whatever means necessary to get more money and more power. Lanigan's means are objectionable, particularly because of how much he throws in the face of the system trying to punish him for something you just don't do, but it's this anti-hero aspect that makes the book so interesting. We want to take sides with the "good guys", but what happens when the good guys aren't that great? It's easy to see who the bad guys are, but everyone else is coated in shades of gray.

My only problem with the book is that, for all his conniving and smart moves, I still left with no clear idea of who Patrick was. I could be missing something, but Grisham wraps Patrick in so much mystery, and he shows him to us mostly through the eyes of the other characters that it's hard to get a clear picture of the man. People seem to like and respect him from his previous life, but why? What I'm trying to say is that he didn't seem to have much of a personality to him, certainly not enough to have a beautiful Brazilian woman (who fell in love with him in about 3 days) helping him along, or a team of helpful friends who don't seem to mind that he made them all believe he was dead for four years.

But this book isn't really a character study, so I can't complain too much. It's about unraveling a complicated plot, about one man using the system against itself, and for that, it's a great read. The legalese is easy to understand and there are enough 'ta-da!' moments to keep you satisfied while it keeps you guessing answers for all the other mysteries in the story. I definitely recommend it as a fast weekend read.

Monday, March 9, 2009

can they hear my thoughts? can baal hear them?

I was just mulling over how blissfully quiet the neighbors had been this morning. I was able to sleep late, without being awakened by hammering, whistling, yelling, dogs barking or any of the other typical neighbor noises that make me hate them so intensely. The hammering. Oi.

I have a sneaking suspicion that one of them (the one whose house is about 2 feet away from my bedroom window) is a secret sculptor carving a 20 foot statue of Baal in the middle of his three-story house (why the fuck do you need a three-story house for three people?) and that's why I've been hearing hammering sounds (*tinktinktinktink*)coming from his house every day, all day long, for about two years now. TWO YEARS.

It's either the giant Baal statue or...hell, I can't even think of what else these people could be doing to their house for two years. When Graham was here year before last we speculated, and came to the sculpting solution. Because, really. It's the weirdest thing ever.

And when there's no hammer sounds coming from the house, it's the sound of the guy WHISTLING. ALL DAY LONG. And no coherent, melodious whistling, either. Just the same three or four notes OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN until I think my brain might explode. I counterattack by playiing really loud music out my window, but I can still hear him*. I think this guy just wanders around the house, doing nothing at all, just whistling. Probably as a ritual to Baal.

Wait...where was I?

Oh yeah, this morning everything was all quiet, I slept, and here I was wondering whether he had finished his master sculpture that will destroy us all, when I hear the melodious sounds of an electric saw.


I need to build me a spy robot. STAT.

*Ooh, this reminds me of something awesome that happened a couple of weeks ago. It was Sunday morning, when everyone at the house sleeps until at least noon. It's Sunday. That's what you do. Anyway, it was about 9am (UNGODLY hour if you ask me) and I'm awakened by NoisyNeighbor (I have more insulting names but I'm trying to cut down on the naughty language here) and his ungodly whistling. I grr and argh, trying to work up the courage to yell at him to shut up (I've tried sushing before but he ignores it), when suddenly I hear my brother's window open up and the following exchange happens:

Figbro2: SHUT UP OLD MAN !["CALLESE VIEJO" in spanish, much funnier]
Figbro2: SHUT UP!
*shuts window*

And he shut up. HE SHUT UP. He went back into his house and there was no more whistling! MIRACULOUS! of course, I was too busy cracking up in my bed to go back to sleep, but oh man it was awesome.

Since then the whistling has stopped (at least on weekends) for the most part, though I can still hear him in the middle of the day. But seems like the early morning tuneless whistling sessions have stopped. HALLELUJAH!

OK now this entry's gone on too long. I'm outzors.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Oh, laws, but I've sunk into the depths of lethargy lately. Last week was particularly awful; I didn't want to do anything, I was bored, depressed and overall just miserable. I think it was all just because the previous weeks had been really exciting and active, and then I suddenly found myself with nothing to do, no projects, nothing to look forward to but more waiting.

Have I told you how fun the waiting is? Yeah, woohoo! Yeaaah!


So, anyway, this week I decided to shake off the blues of non-productivity, actually get my ass off the chair and do something.

I've been cooking, baking, painting, and arranging my room. The cooking is awesome, and I like having dinner ready for when my mom comes home, as I was starting to feel guilty about lounging around in the house all day without earning my keep. As part of my Get Healthy Plan, I've been cooking a boatload of vegetable dishes, mostly soups that are delicious and very healthy. SeriousEats and AllRecipes are awesome sources for healthy food (SeriousEats has fancier cooking) and I'm amazed at the things one can do without meat. I've also been cooking a lot of fish and chicken, cutting drastically back on things like beef and cheese just like the doctor ordered. It's not only delicious and healthy, but I'm already starting to lose weight and look better, which is always a plus of this type of thing. And I'm just feeling generally healthier.

"The Cookie Bible" is my Bible these days (lame). Every three days or so I've been trying out new recipes, keeping half the cookies here and sending half over to my mom's office for trials. My mom's office is a treasure cave of business possibilities, and while sales aren't as crazy as they were in December (when I made a lot of money selling my awesome shortbread cookies), my chocolate chip and cinnamon roll cookies have been hits and I've sold a few boxes. It's not a ridiculous amount of money yet, but enough to buy basic groceries and stuff. Next I'm gonna try to sell some lemon refrigerator cookies that turned out amazing last time. It's nice to have some extra cash and not have to touch my savings.

I've also decided to try painting again. I have a ton of materials that basically came free from the old job- boxes of gorgeous pastels, paintbrushes galore and even some watercolors. And this time I won't be making gifts for people; I actually want to see about selling some art. So I started yesterday and the results were exciting and encouraging, so I'm gonna hunt around old National Geographic magazines (great inspiration for colorful things) and spent my afternoons doing some artsin'. Put that art degree to some use after four years.

Gotta use those talents for good, you know? MONEYS IS GOOD.

On the less-productive side, I've returned to a more leisurely-paced Cannonball Read. I've dared to pick up another Grisham book after being surprised by The Testament, and I'm reading it when my biography of Marie Antoinette gets a little too heavy. Don't get me wrong, the biography is probably one of the most fascinating historic accounts I've ever read, but it's so thorough (the author covers EVERYTHING that happened in like...the WORLD when Marie Antoinette was alive) that all the facts can be a bit overwhelming, and I need a little bit of light reading to make up for it. Also, it'll take me a while to finish it and I don't want to fall back on my reading.

So that's life. We're on the fourth month of what's usually a five-month wait for application approval (the hardest bit is not knowing if it'll even be APPROVED) and things are getting tense. But the being productive actually helps.

And to end, here's the song that (thanks to Scrubs)I've been obsessively listening to and singing for days and days, because it is cheesy but awesome and it makes me dance in my chair:

(OK I can't find a decent video version of the actual song, so here's an awesome compilation made from the Scrubs episode featuring the song. It's also hilarious):

Give a little respeeeeeeect tooooooooooooooooooooOooooo meeeeeeeeeeeee!


('A Little Respect' by Erasure. Haters shut up)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Figgy's List of Grievances. Today: TWOP's Jacob.

Jacob is one of the writers who does tv-show episode recaps on TelevisionWithoutPity.

I love TWOP. Always have. Most of their reviewers are insightful, and it's a good way to catch little details you might've missed in a show.

But oh, I hate Jacob. Have you seen his recaps? I stopped reading the American Idol ones because he started doing them. Same thing with his Gossip Girl recaps I also stopped watching Americal Idol and Gossip Girl years ago, but that doesn't matter here). I went to the site today to see what TWOP had to say about True Blood--a trashy, addictive show I just started watching. And then I found out Jacob was doing the recaps. I went "grrrr" and closed the site.

OK, before I closed it I tried reading. I did. I gave him another chance.

Then I realized each of his recaps is THIRTY PAGES LONG (a 45 minute show, for frak's sake!). THIRTY PAGES of his rambling, incoherent rants that are only 10% actual scenes from the SHOW and 90% filler that seems fueled by one or more hallucinatory drugs. Oh, Sookie is angry? Let me not only say that she's angry, but write a 2 page treatise on the origins of anger, the consequences of anger, the love of anger that makes no sense at all and makes me sound like a pretentious idiot who loves to hear himself talk.

Here's an example:

"Hey, Tara! This is Randi Sue. Come join us. It's beautiful!" And it is. The world is sufficiently big that nobody holds anything against anybody else, because we are one. The sparks in the magnolia and the sparks just across Randi Sue's skin, you can see them: they are the same. What need is there to feel alone ever again, to try to fuck your way across the line, when you've discovered the secret of the universe is that you're already across the line. And they are in you, and you two are only parts of the universe meeting in a kiss, and saying in your pleasure, "I remember you. Welcome home."

Excuse my language here but:

What the HELL does any of that even mean?

NOTHING. Big fat load of NOTHING.

And it's not only a nonsensical, pseudo-philosophical, oh-look-at-how-profound-I-am bout of nonsense, it's also BAD WRITING. Just awful writing. How does this man keep working?

Do your job, Jacob. Your job is to do a run down of the episodes, and add helpful, relevant commentary every now and then. The recap should be about the SHOW, not about YOU. And you are making it all about you. For THIRTY pages. Thirty pages of you trying so desperately hard to be profound that the reader is left hating your guts for being unable to write a single, simple sentence without going into a three-page ramble.

Just stop it.

Alright, I didn't mean for this to go on this long but...this has been eating at me for a long time, and seeing Jacob get more work at TWOP was just the last straw. I can't take it anymore. Somebody stop him.

Living skin, dead matter, separated by bullshit you can only see in context; all this matter and the sparks inside it are the point: they matter. They are significant and alive, whole in themselves, full of life and beauty. It's just nature, and nature's all we have.



Jacob...Shut. Up.


I wrote a second part to my rant: