July 7th, 2008


Two quick reviews

Finished Terry Pratchett's Discworld intro book, The Color of Magic and it did for me what I needed it to, told me what Discworld is, and showed me why his later books in the series completely ignore the original concept - because it is mostly stupid and incredibly unwieldy. As the first in a long series, I did not expect perfection, so I was not disappointed. Bottom line - just barely worth reading.

Since it was a dead heat in the not very well attended movie poll, I went with Wanted tonight. There was a lot of killing and blood and high speed chases and crashes and explosions, but not a lot of fire. They needed more burning, IMHO. On the plus side, Angelina Jolie naked, a twisty ending, some excellent cinematography here and there, and a couple of good nerd-gets-revenge moments. On the minus side, excruciatingly horrible score, some incredibly lame special effects involving fake rats, silver bullets and sides of pork; totally useless title, Angelina Jolie only naked from the back, very tattooed, for a mere 10 seconds (I counted); Morgan Freeman in the most boring role of his career, not a single memorable line in a brain-dead script, and plot holes you could drive a garbage truck filled with peanut butter coated rats through (and they did).  In short, great mindless entertainment. I have one serious comment for the producers - when you manage to put together 90 minutes of action film without a single naughty word, it's really rude, stupid and inane to pepper the last five minutes with the F word. The final line of the movie certainly did not need it.

So what else did I do today? Changed the litterbox, went to the MV furniture consignment store at 11 but it was closed, and they did not have their hours posted. Had dim sum with Janice, watched some more of Catch Me If You Can, went to Petsmart to get a female betta and a small piece of cat furniture. Called the consignment store and found out they open at noon Sundays so I went back and walked through the place. Friendly staff, lots of stuff - they took over the old Ace Hardware store next to Smart & Final and Walgreen's on El Camino & Grant. I almost went for a burnt orange stuffed chair & ottoman, but it was too big and difficult to sit upright in. As in the Saratoga store, lots of neat stuff which I will buy when I acquire Hearst Castle. Drove to Alpine Inn , which I have not been to in ages, and met up with a group of Peace Corps alumni. Home, finished Catch Me If You Can, checked email and went to the movies.

Tomorrow: work, Post office, BASFA, talk to my dad to find out why mom thinks his computer is dead.
  • Current Mood
    curious curious

Can 'o' Worms

I can haz one opened. After the BASFA meeting I was talking with someone  -- who shall remain nameless because Mind Like A Steel Sieve here can only remember his wife Carole's name, suffice to say long-time filker and filk party host and bona fide WorldCon Circus participant -- about the two bids to be decided at Montreal. Seattle and Reno are being bid, but what has my friend concerned is the Reno bid is being headed by someone from Portland.

We disagree on one point, and that is how important it is for local fandom to buy into and support a WorldCon. His opinion, which has the weight of experience behind it, is that local fan support will make or break a WorldCon. I, on the other hand, a fair weather fan but also veteran of many trade shows and work-related conventions, believe that anyone with reasonable travel agent/convention organizing skills, backed by the WSFS and its SMOFs, can put on a successful WorldCon in Reno, regardless of where they are based.

My argument hinges on three things:
1. It's a WORLDcon. Fans will come from all over the world regardless, and that includes gophers
2. It's a WORLDcon. People from all over the world, with the help of WSFS, will come forward to be program chair, party maven, hotel liaison, etc.
3. It's RENO, one of the most convention-centric cities on the planet. There's a stellar Chamber of Commerce and Visitors' Bureau willing to help bring 5,000 bodies into town to spend money and help the balance of trade stats.

We agree that it would help if local fandom was gung-ho about hosting a WorldCon. We disagree that it would make or break the con.

I can't see a lot of potential GoHs turning down a paid trip to Reno, whether the invitation email comes from someone in Reno or Portland. Or Iceland, for that matter. I can't see fans staying away in droves just because an international convention is chaired by someone from out of town.

Part of the opposing viewpoint is emotional (that's not a value judgment, just an observation) - WorldCon has always had pride-of-host as part of its charm. And local folks can more easily steer the con leaders away from stupid mistakes which an out-of-towner might make. But I don't buy either of these for a WorldCon. Regional and local cons, absolutely, but not a WorldCon, and not in Reno. Someone from Portland can get to Reno easily - it's a 1.5 hour flight - and staying in hotels would be part of the legitimate research.

I'll leave it at that. Feel free to chime in. Keep it friendly.

  • Current Mood
    relaxed relaxed

Re-tying Old News

In 1969 I directed a production of Arsenic & Old Lace at the UW Showboat Theater for the student drama group, Theatre One. It was quite a roller coaster ride, but we sold out for the whole run and had a lot of fun. The cast party was in a funeral home, and I still have the death certificate the cast presented me with.

This weekend I received email from my assistant director, Arlene, the first I have heard from her since 1972, saying hi, and breaking the news that she married one of the cast members, Doug, in 1973, they have two grown children and are now retired and living in Seattle.

Nice to hear from them.

The roller coaster ride started when the man I cast as Dr. Einstein, who was perfect for the part, declined the honor saying he was only auditioning for practice. Auditions only scared up one person more than we had parts, so I cast a woman in the role Peter Lorre played in the movie. It worked, somehow. Then the leading man disappeared. I have no idea what happened to him - he just abandoned his dorm room and girlfriend and my show. I tell people he was in jail on a drug charge. Probably true, but who knows? Anyhow, this meant moving everyone up a notch. I auditioned Doug and Mike, and picked Mike for the lead. Arlene was drafted to be one of the cops.
  • Current Mood
    grateful grateful