Friday, July 28, 2006
I wanna take you to the AIR SHOW! AIR SHOW! AIR SHOW!
Here is a little known fact about V, something even people who have known her for years don't always know about: V is an aircraft enthusiast. Particularly WW2-era aircraft, and also generally awesome military planes like harrier jets.

So yesterday was the Lowestoft Air Show and I was pretty psyched for it. I ended up seeing two of the AWESOMEST things ever to exist in the history of AWESOME.

Awesome thing #1: The harrier jet.
I'd never seen one of these before, but I've always wanted to. OMG it was AWESOME. Awesome and LOUD. And FAST. OMG DUDES I got to see it HOVER. I am told that my jaw was on the floor for the duration of the harrier display. It was at least as cool as seeing U2 play live, and that's pretty cool.

Awesome thing #2: The Eurofighter Typhoon.
This is one hell of a formidable plane. I can't even start putting together words for it. Basically, I'd say it can do anything. It was almost like watching a rocketship. For reals.

I saw loads of other impressive stuff, but for me those two planes were totally the highlights of my day.

Also worth mentioning:
The Red Arrows. This was an amazing aerobatics display. I had never seen an aerobatics display before, so that was pretty exciting for me.

They had a good collection of WW2 planes. A beautiful sight.

Saw some helicopters doing things that helicopters just shouldn't do, like flying backwards or with their blades to the sides, or doing loops.

Pictures were taken, but we haven't tried to upload them to the computer yet. There is a strong possibility that the pictures are crap, as it's difficult to photograph things that move around really fast. But if any of those turn out well, they'll be posted here.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
This is V, checking in
First, I need to apologize to anyone who is expecting e-mail from me. Here is the thing. M has a PS2, and God of War. Any spare moment I've had since arriving here has been devoted to saving Athens, or whatever it is that God of War guy is supposed to be doing. Killing stuff, I guess that's what he's supposed to do. I know this seems like a lame excuse for not e-mailing people. But if you've ever played God of War, you will understand. I promise to start writing to y'all ASAP, but I figure this is the most efficient way of communicating with a lot of people in one go.

Some strange things have happened recently. On the way home from the airport, we ended up getting a little bit lost and drove past a field with a crop circle in it. A CROP CIRCLE, PEOPLE. This is in the top five of awesomest things I have ever seen. We drove past it pretty quick, so there wasn't any time to take photos or investigate.

Also, swimming in the sea today, we were attacked by krill. ATTACKED BY KRILL, PEOPLE. I felt something kind of pinch my neck and I said to M, I think something's stung me. His response indicated doubt as to my sanity. Then it happened again. And then it happened to M. And then to me again, and we spotted the krill. It was baffling. We reckon there must have been a hell of a lot of krill out there, if we were being bombarded by so many of them. Do krill attack people? Or maybe swarm in vast numbers? Google was little help. I googled "krill nusiance" and ended up with a result that said "According to the police, Mr. Krill aggressively panhandles..."

Evidently Mr. Krill qualifies as a nuisance.

Watched The Shining last night, a film that continues to freak me right the hell out no matter how many times I've seen it. M has the uncut version. I was convinced that I had seen the uncut version, but there were a few scenes in there that I didn't recognize. I noticed a few things about Mr. Kubrick's cinematography that had previously escaped my attention, but that is a lengthy (and possibly boring film student geek) ramble for another time. That thing in the dog suit (or rat suit or whatever it is) is just WRONG. Even though I knew it was coming and I expected it to be just totally BAD WRONG, it still gives me a sense of real sick unease.

Right then. I'll email y'all soon I PROMISE. I mean, unless I'm eaten by krill. Does that happen? Krill have to eat something, right?
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Creepy Collectible Doll of the Week
In which Paradise Galleries would seem to display an appalling lack of social conscience.

Last week's technical difficulties prevented me from posting a creepy doll. I think I can make it up to you this week by showing you something that is wrong on so many levels.

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the Soul Kidz. Imagine being a fly on the wall at that brainstorming session.

Internationally Renowned Doll Artist #1: But, what will we CALL our new line of non-caucasian dolls?

Internationally Renowned Doll Artist #2: Hey, I know. Black people like "soul", right?

Sigh. And the z at the end of "kidz" is supposed to indicate what? That the dolls are zany? That's the only thing I can think of.

But wait, it gets worse. Here is Nathan. Let's see what Paradise Galleries has to say about "Nathan":
Journey back in time…to the simpler life of the Soul Kidz…and meet winsome “Nathan.” Inspired by the treasured Soul Kidz library of sepia photographs with hand-tinted color, this dapper young fellow comes to life in vivid color.

WHAT THE FUCK? 'Journey back in time to the simpler life of the Soul Kidz??!?' What?? Because life without BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS was so much simpler. Nathan is happy because he gets to drink from his very own water fountain. And really, who needs the social pressure of going to school with white kidz? And that whole lynch mob thing, well, that's pretty simple, right? Everybody wins, it's great.

Way to just gloss over a very grim period in our country's history, Paradise Galleries. Bravo. Bra freaking vo. Way to marginalize the civil rights movement.

And the sad thing is, I don't think the Paradise Galleries people actually mean for this to sound racist. I don't think they're that smart. They probably think, yeah, back in the day, those were the simple times. People didn't lock their doors. But there's no such thing as "simple times" are there? One needs only read To Kill A Mockingbird to see the harsh subtext that lurks under those "simple times".

But I digress. I'm supposed to be smack-talking poorly made dolls, not launching a sociopolitical diatribe about equality.

What else can we say about "Nathan"?
Handcrafted in our revolutionary GentleTouch™ vinyl, “Nathan” is so real you expect him to extend a gentlemanly hand to shake. “Nathan” is a real charmer, nattily dressed in a navy jacket and fawn trousers. His bowtie is impeccable as he offers a big bouquet of roses to his companion issue, “Shirley.” Whether displayed individually or in a sweetly romantic tableau with his first love, this Soul Kid will give you years of delight.

1. Well of course he's handcrafted in GentleTouch™ vinyl. What else is there?

2. I actually DO expect him to extend a hand, but not in a gentlemanly "let's be friends" sort of way. More like this.

3. "Nathan" is FIVE at best. Isn't it a bit creepy to display him in a romantic tableau with his first love? He's FIVE. Tops. His first love should be, like, a fire truck or a baseball or something.

Speaking of "Nathan's" first love, here she is. Unlike "Nathan", "Shirley" actually looks about 40 years old. And she's taken on a rather bizarre pose. It's almost as if she's pleading, "please, release my soul from this horrible shell of GentleTouch™ vinyl."

I'll leave y'all with one last horror. Have a look at James.

I don't actually need to say anything about James. James speaks for himself. Don't look at him for too long, it's a hazard to your sanity.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
What the.
In which V is speechless.

Saturday, July 08, 2006
Friday baddie of the week
Who else but the ultimate pantomime villain of them all... (cue 10,000 people booing and hissing).

Here we see the Cristiano Ronaldo not so subtly aknowledging his part in the sending off of Wayne Rooney in the England v. Portugal quarter final, resulting in a bitterly fought game that ended in an unbearable penalty shoot-out. Ronaldo, we salute your evil cunning and champion diving skills!

Okay, so I lied.
Maybe this is the cheesiest video of all time. I didn't think I'd be able to track it down, but here it is in all it's keytar glory.

Nobody has the heart to tell Jan Hammer he's not that cool.
You want cheesy? I'll give you cheesy.
So apparently there's some blog thing going around where people are trying to outdo one another by posting cheesy music videos. Friends, if there's two things I devoted much of the 1980s to, it was cheese and MTV. Top these, if you dare.

This girl who lives down the street from me is distantly related to John Oates. For serious. And yes, this is the same girl from the "William" dream...

I grew up with hair metal. I feel this gives me the competitive edge.

I also grew up with this, which probably cancels out any competitve edge I might have gained from the hair metal...

I've saved the cheesiest for last, kids. Those shoulder pads. Those bike pants. Those socks, for christs sake. And that dance. It's a deadly combination.

Girl you know it's, girl you know it's, girl you know it's, girl you know it's...
Television gold
Television GOLD, people. Presenting yet another clip from The State that I've been attempting to describe to people for years. I'm getting all nostalgic for 1993 now.

Awwwww Yeah.
In which V was quite a fan of The State back in the early 90s.

I ran across this and totally couldn't believe my eyes. I've been telling people about this for years and didn't think it would ever resurface. But here it is for you all, the glory and joy that only $240 worth of pudding can bring.

Friday, July 07, 2006
Catching up
In which V has been without reliable internet service for several days, and feels obligated to review some stuff she's seen recently.

I am not really in the mood to think very hard this evening, so you'll have to make do with capsule reviews. Yes, this is laziness on my part. There is nothing you can do about it.

I have seen some films. Films! Generally they were quite enjoyable. In no particular order...

1. Superman Returns
This had so many gaping plot holes that it was the cinematic equivalent of swiss cheese. And some of the exposition was quite dull. I actually dozed off a bit at the start. But once the action started, I managed to stay awake and was reasonably entertained. Kevin Spacey is an actor I normally don't tolerate well, but he was a pretty good Lex Luthor. Kate Bosworth is an actress I full-on dislike, and I didn't like her Lois Lane at all. But then, I never liked Lois Lane. She's lame, and kind of a dumbass.

I have to be honest here, people. I don't like Superman just on principle. Superman is white-bread. Superman dwells in a totally black and white world where people are 100% goodies or 100% baddies, and the goodies always win against the baddies, and everyone loves baseball and apple pie and GO AMERICA! YEAH! If you see what I mean. Superman is the embodiment of naive idealism. Superman is... well...

Superman is for babies.

Superman is also quite notoriously Batman's rival. Their relationship is a thing of such complex beauty that I won't even try to get into the psycho-social details of it. Suffice to say, these guys don't get along (suggested reading: this). This kind of dynamic tends to push one towards being either a hardcore Superman fan, or a hardcore Batman fan. And friends, I am most definitely in the Batman camp. Batman is all about the shades of grey. Batman is clinically insane. Batman is not for babies.

This maybe predisposes me to not be very enthusiastic about Superman Returns. Batman Begins, now there was a damn good superhero movie. Rent that, and watch it, and then watch it again.

However: Superman does stop a bullet with his eyeball. HIS EYEBALL, PEOPLE. This alone perhaps saves the film from tedium.

2. Nacho Libre
I have a low tolerance for Jack Black. I mainly only saw this because it was the same team behind Napoleon Dynamite, which is quite possibly one of the funniest movies in the history of funny movies. I figured, well, even if Jack Black sucks, this will probably be at least a little funny.

Nacho Libre was so totally funny. Not just a little funny, a lot funny. It was funny in a different way from Napoleon Dynamite, but it was still very quirky and weird. Both movies kind of made me feel like I was watching people who live in some parallel universe where nobody has social skills.

Jack Black was very funny in this. I also liked Jack Black in Envy. I think maybe these are the only two films I've seen him in where he plays someone essentially innocent and good-hearted and probably a little naive. He is more appealing this way. Usually he plays cretins, and/or jackasses. Not that there's much difference.

One wonders how Superman's eyeball would stand up to an ear of corn. This is all I can say.

3. Night Watch
I have seen this film twice now, and I can say with 100% certainty that it kicks major ass. It is awesome. It's a Russian vampire film, but it's so much more than just a vampire film. It is epic. It is beautifully filmed, it has production values that rival (if not surpass) anything that comes out of Hollywood. It has a killer soundtrack.

And, most importantly, it is original. I see a lot of horror films. And I mean, a lot. So many that you'd probably start wondering things like "is V mentally warped? Does V have some kind of fixation on violence and gore? Does V ever leave the house?" (incidentally, the answer to all of these questions is probably 'yes', but never you mind).

My point is, I see a shitload of horror films, and nearly every single one of them is somehow derivative of another. For a while, I found solace in Asian films because they don't follow the same patterns and conventions of American films. And then you started getting a lot of Ring clones and a lot of Grudge clones. Still though, they are creepy and innovative in ways American horror films can't even touch. And in America's defense, our horror genre has taken a much-appreciated turn for the nasty lately (see also: The Devil's Rejects, Hostel). There's more good stuff out there right now than there has been in a long time.

But look at me, I digress again. What I'm trying to say is that Night Watch was not really derivative of anything I can think of. The story was new. The premise was new. It's a rare occasion that I can watch a horror film and actually wonder what might happen next. Please, please see this film. I can't stress its greatness enough. If you have even the smallest interest in horror films or vampire films or films with a lot of ass-kicking, there is something in there for you.

Well. These were meant to be capsule reviews and I've rambled on. My brain hurts.
We are no longer experiencing technical difficulties.
We now have a shiny new modem with lots of flashing lights. Hurrah!
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Technical Difficulties
Sorry for the lack of posts this week, my internet access is seriously screwed up. Has been since this past Friday, and the geniuses at the cable company can't get anyone out here to sort things out until tomorrow. With any luck, things will be up and running as normal in the next day or two.