Sunday, January 29, 2006

Dear Charlie:

Kaylee? Find me that kid takin' a dirtnap with Baby Jesus. We need a hood ornament.

*falls over laughing*

Okay, so I'll probably go directly to Hell for finding that outtake from Serenity so damn funny, but it just KILLS me! Nathan Fillion, I hold you personally responsible for my Express trip to the Hot Place.

Yeah, watching Serenity yet again. Do I dare try to count how many times?

Nope. Don't want everyone to know exactly how much of a geek I am. Ha!

But I always find something new and fascinating, even just in the movie itself. Little things, like one of the twins tossing a coin to the dancer in the bar so she'll spread her fans and conceal their illicit dealings from the ever-present Alliance security cameras. Little things, like Jayne apparently taking souvenirs from the people he's hit and placing them on his faux-Army gear -- I'm namely thinking of the Alliance security guard's patch that shows up a scene or two later on Jayne's arm.

Little things. Little touches.

Oh, and the scenes in space are always silent. There's theme music, the crew talking through their helmet coms, etc., but no ship noise. No thrusters. No engine noise. No explosions. No air rushing by.

Silence, as it should be in space. And ballsy, as everyone wants to hear laser blasts and the big booms and gunning engines and such. But it works. Makes it more...I dunno...authentic.

Plus, while I readily admit that Jayne has fast become my favorite all-around character from both the movie and the series -- I love the weapon-toting muscle-heads, doncha know -- I am absolutely fascinated by The Operative! My God, such an intelligent, ruthless, driven, and honorable character!

He's a heartless assassin with a Utopian vision. An educated man and a killing machine. An intuitive thinker who has no original thought. A cold-blooded murderer of innocents with a code of honor so deeply ingrained that he comforts his victims even as he watches them die on his blade.

So many contradictions! So very fascinating!

I could study him for a year and still not be able to create a character with half his integrity and callous charm.

At any rate, as you can see, the trusty ol' laptop is up and running. I haven't so much as closed the lid since I got it back on Friday afternoon. That can't last forever, though. I know that some businesses leave their computers up and running for weeks before the RAM gets too full to function properly, but still....

I hope to get it fixed soon. Dunno how, but I'm working on it.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Horrible Sidebar Update:

Okay, so I got the ol' laptop started back up again. Dunno how long it'll last, but no chance in Hell am I closing the lid! I can't guarantee it'll come out of hibernation again!

So, until I come up with some sort of solution here, I'll just leave the poor thing up and running. Screensaver...check!

Luckily, I have a current back-up of all my writing stuff and various pictures, icons, programs, etc. One less thing, ne?

Watching Cadence. Not exactly a war movie, but definitely a military flick. And they do mention the Vietnam War -- which is where Private Bean is going when he leaves the stockade.

Close enough for me. Heh.

Of course, as soon as it's over, I plan to pop in one of the Firefly discs...or maybe Serenity.

OH! And a funny! I have a guy at work absolutely ADDICTED to Firefly! He's been borrowing the discs one at a time.

The first one, he had for a week before he managed to watch them all. Hell, he had it for four days before even watching the pilot episode.

The second one, he'd watched one episode on Day 2, two more episodes on Day 4, and the last episode on Day 6.

The third one? The one I introduced as "my very favorite DVD" in honor of Jayne's comment about Vera being his "very favorite gun"? The one I warned him had three of my favorite episodes on it, including my very favorite, "Out of Gas"?

He'd watched the first three episodes the first night. The last episode, he watched on Day 2. Ha!

And he agrees that "Out of Gas", "Ariel", and "War Stories" are three mighty fine episodes. We had a lengthy chat about "Out of Gas". Loads of good fun!

I'm telling you guys -- this show is like visual crack. Once you get a taste, you simply must have more. Amazing stuff.

Highly addictive!

Horrible Sidebar:

Quickie post. I'm at work and I promised myself I wouldn't post at work here at the new place, but I have no providers to worry about at the moment and my computer at home...well...is the point of the post.

It's in a coma.

It's not dead. The hard drive will turn over. But the video driver -- which has been going out for weeks, so I can't really claim surprise -- finally ist kaput. So, no computer at home.

I'll hopefully get it fixed soon. I dunno if this is a driver that I can download off the internet from a friend's house and install on my laptop or if I'll need a replacement part of some sort. I guess I'll have to find some way to find out.

*whines*

At any rate, gotta run! Duty calls!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Bizarro Sidebar:

I really hate to displace my soulful and highly personal account of revisiting the war movies of my youth and the personal growth I've discovered within myself, but this could not wait for a more opportune time.

I just had to extricate my cat -- correction: DAVE'S cat -- from the innards of my couch.

Thank you. That is all.

Dear Charlie:

Heh, that title is kind of funny today. Ironic.

You see, this weekend I was reading back over this post where I said I didn't much care for war movies.

Okay, so maybe that's not exactly what I said. Heh.

At any rate, I couldn't help but think that I ought to give some of those old flicks another try. My outlook has changed greatly since I watched them last. My appreciation of honor and glory has been honed by years of study and desire for that kind of honor and glory. I am fascinated by war and am admittedly a goner over warriors and soldiers.

Now, I know that battle is ugly and boot camp is uglier, but there's beauty in that ugliness. Stark and dangerous beauty, yes, but there it is. Strength. Honor. Discipline.

Glory.

Better still, I can appreciate all of that now. I was...something of a tenderheart as a kid.

Yeah, I know. The Ice Queen once had a heart. Unbelievable but true.

Don't tell anyone, okay? My reputation is at stake here.

At any rate, so I'm thinking I might revisit those old horror stories of my youth and see if they affect me differently. To see if I might like them now. Even love them.

I started with Platoon. Probably a good choice, in retrospect. Crazy, yes. Full of the atrocities of war, yes. Bloody and vicious and just flat meaty, yes.

Enjoyed it. Won't say I loved it, but I enjoyed it. Good stuff. It's Willem Dafoe, and he's always amazing. I'd watch it again and probably will. Soon.

So...I bit the bullet. Almost literally. Yup. I jumped to Full Metal Jacket.

Maybe not a good choice. Heh.

See, FMJ is the Unconquerable Mountain of my youth. This is a movie that may well have scarred me as a kid. I was, what, 12 when I watched it first? Maybe 14?

Then again, given my love of soldiers/warriors, it might well have been the making of me...in a bizarre and probably not entirely healthy way.

Every time I thought about this movie, a single image flashed into my mind: cherry pie splattered all over the white bathroom tiles. Yup. The "Private Pyle blows off his head with a full metal jacket bullet" scene. I barely remembered anything else about this film. Someone said "full metal jacket"...I thought "cherry pie".

Oddly enough and on a completely irrelevant note, that scene is irretrievably tied in my mind to the one from Lord of the Flies where the wild boys drop a rock on Piggy's head. Someone says "lord of the flies"...I think of a heavy splat and a pair of cracked spectacles on the ground.

At any rate, I wanted to see if I could get past that scene in FMJ. I wanted to enjoy the flick, to get behind the Marines -- whom I admire more than words can say -- and to honestly admire what they go through to get to Vietnam and to get back out again. I've grown up -- don't laugh, Sis -- since the last time I watched it, and if nothing else, I wanted to prove that to myself.

I think I may have succeeded. I'm a little surprised. I didn't think I had changed so much or that I had that kind of ability to open my mind.

I'll never love this movie. I don't think I'm that strong a person.

But I admire it. I appreciate it. Now that I've grown a bit.

And damn if there ain't more to it than red and white, blood and tile, a bullet and what used to be a brain.

*wide grin*

Damn if there ain't Adam Baldwin -- Jayne, from the Firefly series! Who knew??

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Dear Charlie:

Woo-hoo!!

Denver LOST!

*dances*

Less importantly, Pittsburgh won, which means they're going to the Bowl. Sweet! I won't mind seeing The Steel Curtain in the SuperBowl. It'll make it interesting.

I am hoping for Seattle, though. Seattle vs. Pittsburgh will be an excellent match-up. I'm not sure who I'd root for in that game.

Probably Pittsburgh. I kinda like them. They're easy to get behind.

Let's hope Carolina agrees with Seattle going, though. I'd pay money to NOT see Carolina play.

Heh.

EDIT: Woot! Seattle won, too! This should be an excellent SuperBowl!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Sidebar:

Seven shades of shit in a one-shit trumpet, Sir.

That's my new favorite answer to "What's the situation?" Seriously. I'm gonna start using it at work. I wonder if that'll get me fired?

Watching Formula 51. Fun movie. Makes very little sense and is crazy as hell, but it's lots of fun. I adore it beyond all reason...because of Meat Loaf.

Yup. Meat Loaf.

I love the guy. Music or movie, he's fun. In this, he plays The Lizard -- a drug kingpin who keeps his brilliant chemist on a very short choke-chain. Meat Loaf as a bad guy. Damn if he don't pull it off with panache!

He fucked me! I'm truly ass-invaded!

He gets all the good lines!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Dear Charlie:

Okay, so tomorrow's Friday -- and thank all the gods that be for that! -- and that puts us one day closer to FOOTBALL. Woo-hoo!

So, here we go: Pittsburgh vs. Denver and Carolina vs. Seattle.

Duh. At this point, I'm hoping Pittsburgh kicks the ever-loving crap out of Denver. Otherwise, the friggin Broncos will be INSUFFERABLE next year. They're damn near that already!

I wouldn't mind seeing Denver vs. Seattle at the SuperBowl, but I wouldn't be upset if it were Pittsburgh vs. Seattle. I don't really care one way or the other for Carolina, so...meh.

But yeah, I could stand to see Denver lose this weekend and not lose a wink of sleep. Heh.

I could stand to watch Denver lose EVERY weekend and not lose a wink of sleep.

Unless, of course, they're playing Oakland. Friggin Raiders.

At any rate, I'm rooting for Seattle at the moment. They kinda took me by surprise. I don't usually care for them -- don't hate 'em, don't love 'em -- so I won't just cry if they don't make it, but I'd MUCH rather see Seattle in the 'Bowl than Carolina.

Yes. I think about this stuff.

I also think about hopefully catching SmackDown this weekend, dammit. It's been WEEKS since I managed to either stay up that late or actually convince my VCR to tape it. My kingdom for TiVo!

I need my wrestling fix!

I may just have to watch Firefly Disc 3 to keep me awake Saturday night, ne? What a shame. Heh.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Dear Charlie:

So I got my dad watching Firefly now, too. Ha!

He showed up a little earlier than I expected Sunday morning -- but only morning by the skin of Sunday's teeth -- and dragged my sorry, sleepy butt out of bed, so I popped in "Out of Gas" to entertain him while I dressed and brushed and blow-dried.

Yes, I use a blow-dryer. Shocking in one so non-girly, I know, but I have curly hair. Curly hair + no defuser = frizzy tangled mess.

At any rate, Dad seemed pretty into the episode when I came out twenty minutes later, so I watched the rest with him. Good stuff. Then we went to the Japanese steak house. God, I love that place. Best food EVER.

Meat. Veggies. Rice. Noodles. Soup. Salad. California rolls. Hell, he even got me to try raw yellowtail. I SO don't do fish, especially raw. But I promised myself to at least try sushi when I could, so I tried.

Not bad. I chewed very little and swallowed fast.

Anyway, then we came back to the house, watched some play-offs football [and damn if I didn't end up 50/50 on the weekend with 100% right on Saturday and 100% wrong on Sunday], deep-cleaned the carpet, and watched some more Firefly. I know we watched at least one more episode, maybe two. I remember wanting to show him another episode, but I can't remember if that would have been three or four on the day.

Either way, it's pretty impressive that my dad actually sat and watched something for an hour without falling asleep! He'll even conk out watching football sometimes. No lie.

*crosses heart*

At any rate, the more I watch, the more I can say that if they do any more with this 'Verse -- movie, series, mini-series, whatever -- I wish I could be part of it. I'd work cheap!

...

Wait. I already work cheap. Damn.

Where do I sign up again?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Dear Charlie:

Now this is what I don't like about the Patriots. It's not even really their fault, which makes it harder still.

They're down 17 - 6 after heave-ho-ing a pass into the end zone that is intercepted and run all the way back to the one and allowing Denver to score one play later. And what do the announcers do?

Praise the lone Patriot that managed to run all the way down the field and tackle the guy who intercepted.

Sure, that's a nifty feat. Sure, the guy deserved kudos for saving the touchdown by a yard.

But the friggin BRONCOS did the intercepting! The BRONCOS did the scoring! The BRONCOS have done just about everything right tonight, and the PATRIOTS -- who have committed 4 turnovers and practically handed Denver 14 of their now 24 points as a result -- get the announcer time!

As much as it pains me to root for Denver, I gotta admit that the Broncos are kicking some serious ass -- it's currently 24 - 6 in the 4th quarter with 8:12 left on the clock -- and it pisses me off that the announcers are still swooning over the friggin PATRIOTS.

Of course, the announcers never really get behind my beloved Chiefs, either. I guess I root for the unfavorables.

Is this a pattern?

At any rate, the Broncos have played like SuperBowl contenders tonight, and they should be proud of themselves. It's rare enough that I actually root for them.

It's damn near unique that I actually PRAISE them while doing so!

...

And just as a sidebar, it should be noted that the Patriots are a large part of why my Chiefs didn't squeak into the play-offs with our 10 - 6 record. That might have something to do with my snark. Just to be fair, you know.

I have to go watch some Firefly now -- well, in 8 minutes, anyway -- to blow off some steam. Woo-hoo!

And just by the bye...my picks for today were Seattle and Denver. Tomorrow? Indianapolis and Chicago. I think I'll be 2 for 2 today.

*crosses fingers for tomorrow*

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Sidebar:

So, I lied. This weekend's post season games are gonna ROCK.

Denver vs. New England should be...interesting. Denver has the better record, but the Patriots usually step it up in the post season. I hate the Broncos, but I'm really tired of the Patriots. Very interesting, indeed.

Indianapolis vs. Pittsburgh. I wanna see that. I'm rooting for Indianapolis, of course, but Pittsburgh might make a dent in that offense, and though the Steelers offense hasn't exactly been explosive this year, it's obviously been efficient enough to get them to the playoffs. Let's just see.

Washington vs. Seattle. Go Seattle.

Carolina vs. Chicago. Go Bears! Dude, I'd pay MONEY to watch them win in the post season! I know they're basically going on the strength of their iron defense, but I wanna see them WIN!

So, yeah, I retract my whine from the last post. This post season is shaping up roses.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Dear Charlie:

So the post-season isn't thrilling me much this year. Don't get me wrong -- I'm lovin the football, and I'm watching all I can get to combat the withdrawal symptoms that will set in the day after the ProBowl. I'm all about the post season.

But I wish my boys could have made it. Even by the skin of their teeth. 'S a cryin shame.

We got a new head coach. I will reserve judgment for now. Herm Edwards is, I'm sure, a fine coach...but if I see ONE instance of zone defense in the pre-season, I'm gonna throw a fit the likes of which has rarely been seen outside a two-year-old!

Luckily, I have Jayne to keep me amused in the dreaded off season. Heh. That guy gets more amusing with each episode -- especially when I watch the episodes with commentary and get background funnies. Good stuff, there.

I'm also cracking up over River's freak-out about Shepherd Book's hair in "Jaynestown". Don't get me wrong; that 'do is truly frightening, but her rationalization on the subject is priceless.

"Listen, if the snow on the roof gets too heavy, the ceiling will cave in. His brains are in terrible danger!"

Of course, it helps that the episode's all about Jayne. Heh. Jayne, the mistaken Hero of Canton. Heheh. God, that hero song is absolutely wrong. And so catchy!

Firefly. Great stuff.

Currently watching "Objects in Space". It may be my second favorite episode besides "Out of Gas". Jubal Early is just a study in philosophical evil. He seems so civilized, even as he spouts that Kaylee's body is little more than meat to him. And he's always thinking about something. And usually telling us about it.

Then there's River, who takes great delight in messing with Early's head. I think one of the great, unstated points of this episode is to give us a tiny glimpse of how growing up with River must have been for Simon. Though he doesn't believe River's story of melting from dismay and becoming one with the ship, he plays right along with her.

"I can't keep track of her when she's not incorporeally possessing a spaceship. Don't look at me."

Heh. Can you imagine how hard her childhood must have been on their parents? Gah!

Oh! And I finally got that damned quilt completely pieced and turned right-side out! Now, I just gotta, you know...QUILT. That's my favorite part!

No writing done, of course, but it's a good trade-off. I've been promising this quilt to my friend in Kentucky for going on a year now. Yeah. That bad. But hey, it's all done by hand. Not a machine stitch in the whole thing.

So, progress is wonderful. And the quilt don't look too bad, either. Heh.

Plus, I prettied up my sidebar. It needed alphabetizing. Desperately. I'm not such a fan of chronology, especially since the only chronology was when I felt like writing a review. I'm all about the tidy. I could SO work in a library.

And the week is half over. Woo-hoo! This post just keeps getting better and better. Better quit while I'm ahead, ne?

Monday, January 02, 2006

Wonderful Sidebar:

So I watched the entirety of Firefly this weekend. Four discs, fourteen episodes, two hours for the promo and an hour apiece for the rest, and all of that just good ol' fashioned fun.

Remember how I schmoozed on Serenity just a week or so ago? Well, imagine each episode having that kind of appeal, that attention to detail, that depth of character and range of emotion and expression.

The episodes all take place before the movie -- the last about six months before the opening sequence of Serenity. There is a touch of revisionist history there, but it's very subtle and does nothing untoward to the plot of the whole thing.

It flows. Trust me. As soon as the last episode of Firefly played and I skimmed through the special features, I popped in Serenity again.

Heh.

All I can say is what Joss Whedon and Nathan Fillion and all the rest probably already know: they made a story like nothing I've ever seen, and they made it real, and they made me love it. Not only do I root for Serenity's crew, but I almost feel as if I fought with them. That I grew to love their home as much as they do, to quietly -- or not so quietly -- hate the Alliance as they do.

I think my favorite episode is "Out of Gas". It perfectly expresses what the Captain says at the end of Serenity. Ties it all together, so to speak.


You know what the first rule of flyin is? Love. You can learn all the math in the 'Verse, but if you take a boat in the air that you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turnin of the worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she oughtta fall down, tells you she's hurtin before she keens...makes her a home.


And that, I think, is why I adore both the series and the movie. It's not just how the make-believe crew feels about their ship, their home, but how the cast and crew feel about the entire project. They had to fight to get even those 14 episodes made, had to press and press and struggle and survive off of fan support to get the movie budgeted and filmed.

But they did it. They did it because they loved it, and as cheesy as it sounds, that love got this boat in the air. And baby, does it soar.


Edit: For lots of fun commentary and quotage, check out my beloved sister's post on catching Firefly quite by accident and the comments that follow. Lots of fun.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Dear Charlie:

So it's 10 - 6 and no play-offs for my beloved Chiefs. Doesn't happen often that a 10 - 6 team doesn't go to the play-offs, but hey. We had our chances, and today, we could only control those things within our hands -- namely our offense and defense. The result? A lovely 37 - 3 score against the play-off-contender Cincinnati Bengals.

Doesn't seem to mean much to win by a huge margin when there's no play-offs, does it? But that's where you're wrong.

You see, today was not only about a miracle shot at a wild card slot. Today was also about Dick Vermeil's last game as the Chiefs' head coach.

That's right. The legend is retiring. Again. For the last time, as far as I know.

But it's okay, because his boys served him up a going away present that he won't soon forget. No play-offs, but a decisive, brutal win over a good team, shaky defense or no.

Check out some of these numbers:

1. Trent Green was 23 of 29 for 344 yards and a touchdown. No interceptions. That means that only 6 of his passes for the entire game didn't connect. Not too shabby. Especially that 344 yards thing. That's a lot of yards. That's like 3 1/2 football fields.

2. Larry Johnson had 201 yards on 26 carries and THREE touchdowns. He would've had 4, but the ball was punched out at the 2 yard line and recovered by Cincinnati -- the only mistake on the day, as far as I could tell, and not a terrible one, as the Bengals had to punt.

3. Eddie Kennison had 7 receptions for 151 yards -- 55 of which came on a single incredible reception that required him to run backwards for at least 7 yards to make a textbook grab, then turn without losing a step to get another 6 or so yards after contact. Beauty.

4. The entire Bengals team -- including the quarterback -- gained a grand total of 37 rushing yards. I shit you not.

5. The entire Bengals team -- including the running backs -- gained something like 130 passing yards. Again, I shit you not.

6. Add the last two stats together, and you get 167 yards of total offense and no touchdowns for Cincinnati. Larry Johnson HIMSELF gained 201 yards and 3 touchdowns. I trust the math is self-explanatory.

7. Trent Green threw one helluva good block for Larry Johnson's second -- or was it third? -- touchdown. It looked like LJ would go down with no yards gained, but he shook off his tackler like a wet dog, reversed his field like lightning, and ran all the way back across the field before cutting in, thanks to a monster block from his quarterback that had a linebacker flat on his back! Woo-hoo!

8. Poor Kitna -- who came in after Palmer went out early -- threw two interceptions. Three, almost, but a coach's challenge showed that Warfield didn't quite have possession before he got two feet in-bounds. The Chiefs' only turnover came from that aforementioned fumble at the 2. Trent Green was perfect today.

9. Larry Tines -- much maligned of late (even by me, though I defended him until that last booted extra point last week that still wasn't entirely his fault) kicked 3 perfect field goals and 4 perfect extra points today. Not too shabby. If he'd been my fantasy football kicker -- though I didn't pick a fantasy team this year -- he'd have gained me 13 points today. That ain't no cabbage.

10. Even our back-up back-up running back scored a touchdown today. I dunno why, but that tickles me to death. Nice.

So, my boys busted their asses to give Dick Vermeil a fitting farewell. I wish they could have done so against either Dallas or the Giants so we could have gone right to the play-offs, but hey. I'll take what I can get and love every minute of it. We did good things this season. We could have given up half-way through the season, but we fought on and we just kept coming back.

That's good stuff, folks. That's all I needed for the New Year.

Funny that. If it's true that what you do on New Year's Day is what you'll be doing for the rest of the year, I should be set. After all, what's better than watching my Chiefs win, jumping up and down like a fool, writing on my trilogy, listening to some kickin music, and swigging Live Wire like water?

If nothing else, the Live Wire and jumping around should have a positive effect on my waist-line. Ha!