Friday, February 11, 2005

Batman Begins Super Bowl TV Spot
War of the Worlds Super Bowl TV Spot
Bud Light ad banned from the Super Bowl

Rebecca Miller's The Ballad of Jack & Rose

An eerie short, Muppets Overtime

Shockingly funny news (actually not so shocking)


I've abandoned my Global Frequency email ad, for those who were using that to contact me. I'm still using the Hotmail and Gmail ones, and still get Friendster notifications, or you could just comment here, if so inclined.

It was a little weird. The Global Frequency account was mostly for work. But I also ended up using it as a repository for reference and stuff I thought I might need later on. Research, weblinks, addresses, etc. But cleaning it out I found stuff I'd completely forgotten about in the 2 years I've had it: correspondence from Dave McKean's producer, account info for a site I registered for but completely forgot about, a reply to someone I hardly knew who chose to come out of the closet to me, and an angry email from Neva that contained 29 instances of the word "fuck," "fucker," or "fucking." It was a bit arduous, and that was just for an account I've had for a little over 2 years. If I had to clean out my original email account, the one I've had ever since I got on the web ('94 or '95), it would take forever and be, I expect, quite painful. In this regard these email accounts are almost like diaries or photo albums. Gmail's especially structured in this way, with conversations considered one file and the ability to store a LOT of detritus.


I finished Peter Biskind's Down & Dirty Pictures after about 2 weeks. It's a nice thick book, the one he was promoting when I met him at the Edinburgh Book Festival last August, but it was only in hardcover then and I couldn't afford it. Got it at the recent Powerbooks sale. It concerns the era during which I fell in love with film ('90s), so it was very interesting to read the behind-the-scenes dramas and hilarity concerning some of my favorite movies. Very dishy and very much worth it.

After that I barreled through Michael Chabon's The Final Solution, which Neva got me in Singapore. I loved it. It's just a short novella, but impeccably written, just a wonderful homage to the whole detective genre. I love that he really integrated the setting and times into the story, not focusing just on the "case" that the aging Sherlock Holmes (never mentioned by name, but all the hints are there in the beginning) was working on. And the triple-meaning of the title was inspired. After winning the Pulitzer for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which is one of my favorite books EVER, Chabon seems to have stuck very much to genre fiction, looking at his output: his next work was the young adult fantasy Summerland, then he edited the genre anthology for McSweeney's, and now The Final Solution. What I love is that he's brought this unabashed, unapologetic poetic lyricism to genre fiction. His writing style might strike some as too elaborate, but I like it that way. It doesn't flow as effortlessly as, say, Auster or Murakami, but that works to its advantage: sometimes you can read it out loud, slowing yourself down and just enjoying the arrangement of such-and-such sentences, or a clever turn of phrase, things that don't usually occur in genre fiction, which tends to more often than not be all about plot. Chabon's been great at introducing characterization and writing style as equally weighty ingredients to the mix.

Now halfway through Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore, which so far isn't as thick or ambitious as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle was, despite the press and hype surrounding the book. I realize it's more of an event than I first understood: not only is it his first book in a while (I think Undergound came out in '02?), it's his first NOVEL in a LONG while, because the last 2 books were an anthology and a non-fiction book of interviews. There isn't much of the whiz-bang descriptions I love, but the story's intriguing enough. The structure is similar to his Hard-Boiled Wonderland & The End of the World: alternating chapters between 2 protagonists, with elements of one sometimes appearing in the other, which feels slightly viral and uncomfortable sometimes. There is the surrealism I've come to expect (talking cats), and a harrowingly intense scene of evisceration. Elements of Underground have also emerged, in chapters that are basically transcripts from a strange event in WW2.

Must every book jacket declare that this is a work of the author at the height of his powers? It almost seems like a joke now.


Saw Stacy Peralta's Riding Giants, and it was breathtaking. Made me realize how little I know about surfing, even from a distanced POV. It made you want to learn how to surf at the end, and the soundtrack is awesome. Not just in the selection of music, but when and how it was used. Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Moby, and at the end, suddenly and with great impact, Erik Satie. Like I said, breathtaking. The history of surfing is more interesting than I would ever have expected. There's this guy Greg Noll, who was an icon in the '50s, '60s. He's an old guy now, but the way he talks about surfing is so... affecting. Like he just exudes this love for it, completely and utterly believable. It's actually very sweet, especially in this part where he compares it to a woman. Then there's Laird Hamilton, whose life-story kind of makes him the Jesus of surfing. This guy's so big he was in Ralph Lauren ads and when I saw them in high school I just thought he was another male model. Then you find out he's the best surfer the world's seen, is married to Gabrielle Reece (something of an icon herself), etc. After he surfs this ungodly wave there's a shot of him crying. And the footage is spectacular, especially past the 1:17 mark (the Propellerheads song). That one wave in Teahupoo, I swear to God, looks like A MOVING WATERFALL MADE OF GLASS. If that even makes any sense. And it's just so frighteningly fast, and just massive. Go watch it.

We also saw I Heart Huckabees, which we enjoyed very much. It really shouldn't be taken seriously. Some people have decried it as pretentious but I feel it's all very tongue-in-cheek. I love Isabelle Huppert. Here's an actress literally willing to have her face shoved into mud. And dammit, she's STILL hot. But the surprise for me was Mark Wahlberg. He was so funny.

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