i haven’t regularly read comics in quite a few years, though i’m a total sucker for alex ross graphic novels (seriously, go grab a copy of Kingdom Come, it’s incredible). i distinctly remember starting my collection when Todd McFarlane drew multiple covers for Spider-Man #1, and that was about the same time that my drawing started focusing solely on superheroes and comics. i was totally dedicated to becoming a comic book artist, and spent most of my free time drawing and creating superheroes. now i’m set to graduate architecture school and to save the world through sustainable design, so i guess you never know what’s going to happen.
anyway, i just saw this article on nytimes.com about Marvel’s new gimmick – the death of Captain America. the death of a major comic book character happens every once in a while – if it didn’t, the comic universe would become ridiculously stagnant. we all remember the death (and inevitable return) of Superman, don’t we? who knows if Captain America will come back – frankly i don’t really care. but what caught my attention in this article is how it smacks completely of the story line from Pixar’s The Incredibles. according the article, this is the synopsis: superheroes and villains somehow get into fight on a reality show, innocent bystanders are hurt, government starts to require ‘supers’ to register their powers. that right there is the story line to The Incredibles. the Captain America storyline continues w/ ‘Cap suing for infringing upon his civil liberties while Iron Man is pro-registration, arguing that super powers should be the subject of institutionalized training just like the army, fire and police departments, etc. following the 7 part mini-series that set this whole story out, Captain American gets shot by a sniper on the courthouse steps (the sniper of course being someone w/ whom he is romantically involved – who is under the control of an evil villain!).
anyway, i just wanted to point out once again that Pixar, the most brilliant story writers of all time, praise be their names, already explored this theme. they should get a royalty cut from all sales of this issue.
the first few episodes rocked, and the rescue from new caprica was perhaps one of the best episodes ever. also, the eye of jupiter episodes were pretty good. but for the most part, they’ve spent a lot of episodes w/ filler – trying to do character development, but it really seems kind of lame. especially when a few episodes later, the character seems to act completely differently than the one where he/she was just spotlighted. it’s as if that whole character development episode just didn’t happen at all. and then add to that the fact that a lot of the character development seems kind of superficial.
for instance, this past week chief tyrol was put in charge of getting the fuel refining ship in order. that ship had a crew that had worked practically non-stop since the original attack (or at least since the departure from new caprica) and was on the verge of strike. fine. but adama and roslin say that there will be no strike, just get the ship working and we’ll talk about fixing working conditions afterward. this conversation occurs, of course, as they sip wine (which adama’s never done before, apparently being a scotch/bourbon type of guy). touche. eventually, they concede to recruitment for more workers to the refinery in order to allow workers some time off. seems reasonable. finally when one of the new recruits gets horribly injured on the job tyrol calls for a strike. he gets arrested. adama threatens to shoot him and his wife – oh please. like he would ever do that. they were just trying to show a battle of the classes. finally at the end of the show, roslin acquiesces to the formation of a union – something she wouldn’t have allowed at the start of the episode. the whole thing was just so silly.
battlestar galactica used to be good at dealing w/ political issues, racism, and class struggle. it seems that most of this season, though, has been half thought out.
last night we decided to watch Munich, which i must have downloaded several months ago but have been waiting to watch since i didn’t have time for a movie. put it in my movie folder, fired up Front Row w/ my lovely Macbook remote (that’s got to be one of the best recent innovations in home computing) and sat back to enjoy the show. the first scene showed what appeared to be 2 sets of athletes trying to sneak in or out of the Olympic Village in Munich, who’s really to know. one group spoke Italian, the other group just kind of shrugged indicating that they didn’t understand the first group. the second group, though, was really a terrorist group who proceeded to kidnap and murder the Israeli athletes. we finally caught on to the fact that something wasn’t quite right with this movie when the scene jumped to people in Israel watching the events unfold on live TV – in Italian. there were no subtitles, but there is no way that it should have been Italian at this point. perhaps it was the Jewish community in Milan? fast forward a bit – still Italian. damn it! how long had i spent downloading an Italian version of Munich?! there definitely wasn’t any notification on the file that it was going to be Italian.
at that point I hopped in the car and drove to I Luv Video, the best video store in Austin, picked up a copy of Munich, and drove home. total time = 20 minutes. pop it in the dvd player (when was the last time i actually used that thing?) and get started. about 35 minutes into the movie, it seems to get stuck on one frame for a few seconds, and then jumps back to the beginning of the movie. we were just not meant to watch Munich, it seemed. i jumped back to the proper location and then scanned through the jumpy frames to get us back up and running. things are fine for about another 20 minutes, until this happens again and it goes back to a scene 10 minutes into the movie. damn it again! i pop out the dvd and see that it is completely smudged w/ fingerprints. bad I Luv Video! clean your discs! i clean the disc, pop it back in, and everything plays normally from that point to the end, though there were still points when video got all pixelated and discolored. the disc is most definitely not in good condition.
soooo, ultimately i saw the whole movie, which i found to be pretty good. i know there was uproar in the jewish community about this movie for the way it seemed to portray Israeli politically and military machinery as killers, and showed sympathy for the Palestinian killers and their cause. i had an argument with a family friend about it last summer – neither or us had watched the movie, but argued about the topic. it’s touchy – i agree that israel needs to generally be militarily aggressive in defending its borders as it is pretty much surrounded by hostile neighbors (though there may be uneasy truces with surrounding countries, there are terrorist organizations working within those countries that generally work uninhibited in their attacks against israel).
i think the lebanon war last summer was completely botched and too trigger happy – surely more behind the scenes negotiation could have occurred first. on the other hand, this is a terrorist organization backed by Syria that Lebanon has done nothing about. also, Hama continues to instigate violence against Israel when political cooperation would result in a Palestinian state. it’s a constant tit-for-tat struggle, but if Israel sat back and did not assert itself, then nobody would help them. political condemnation from the world community is rhetoric w/o any concrete actions to back it up (generally). how long did it take an international consortium to take over the southern border of Lebanon after the Israeli incursion? months. when we’re talking about securing a border that would otherwise continue to result in dead civilians and military, that is ridiculous.
what i think this movie helped to show was that both sides have legitimate claims, the issues are emotional, and that it is always imperative to question your actions. i think my favorite line in the movie was when the bomb-maker broke down and argues against continuing the assassinations: ‘We are supposed to be righteous. That’s a beautiful thing. And we’re losing it. If I lose that, that’s everything. That’s my soul.’
finally, after much delay, bally-hoo, dilly-dally, and fiddling around, season 3 of battlestar galactica has been added to itunes. this happened sometime between 3am and 6:30am CST (USA). maybe that was why i couldn’t sleep last night – a premonition of the impending arrival of season3. i checked at 3am, nothing was up, i read for a few hours, caught a nap, came back, and looky looky! (actually, i just couldn’t get my mind off studio and redesigning the firehouse project)
rejoice, fans and fanboys alike, for redemption is at hand. a season pass costs $38.99 – pretty expensive, without any real discount for the season’s 20 episodes (which sell individually for $1.99, like all tv shows on itunes). the plus to the high cost is the automatic download of each new episode as it becomes available and its (now) tv quality picture. the minus is that who’s to know after this season premier fiasco if they’ll actually get the episodes up on time from now on.
also, being as the battlestar galactica waiting period has ended, i can mention that my blog received a ludicrous (for me) amount of traffic related to my battlestar post on oct.7. now that traffic has dropped off (only 13 hits to that post today so far, whereas yesterday at this point it had surpassed 300), i can write battlestar galactica season 3 itunes as much as i want, b/c this post won’t get confused with that last rant, which is what everyone came here for – to collectively gripe w/ me about the misery induced by no access to the season premier. as i had mentioned in one of yesterday’s posts, i don’t normally get much traffic to my blog. generally anywhere from 20-35 hits a day. the best day prior to yesterday was 54 hits. most people come to this blog to read about my horrible experience with the motorola razr, presumably since they’ve had similar experiences (the search engine terms are usually: razr sucks). anyway, yesterday i received 522 hits, 9/10’s of them being for the battlestar post. that post also received 20 comments – and i didn’t know a single person! i also got linked from an external blog for something other the ‘save the internet’ blog roll. also, i was listed as the #3 fastest growing blog of over 400,000 on wordpress for a brief shining moment b/c of this post. it was a very exciting day for me in cyberland, indeed.
i’ve anxiously awaited this day for months – a chance to satiate my insane addiction to the most incredible show ever to grace the photonic brilliance of my tv (actually i watch it all on my laptop). season 3 of battlestar galactica premiered last night, and being as i don’t have cable, i buy the episodes on the itune music store. tv shows that are carried on itunes are avaialble the morning following their air dates. itunes carries seasons 1 & 2 of battlestar galactica, plus the original mini-series. logic follows that season 3 would be on itunes as well. today is the day following the airing of the episode. so where is it?! i’m going to shrivel away to nothing if i don’t get my fix!
while you wait for galactica like me, perhaps you’d enjoy an alternate audio track to harry potter and the sorcerer’s stone. created by an austinite, it is quite brilliant. the downloadable mp3s and instructions for ‘wizard people’ are here.
you know, there’s really no purpose in declaring what’s wrong w/ things like this b/c obviously everybody who took part in the popular culture of 20-30 years ago was on drugs. but still, what are cheerleaders doing on the bridge of a spaceship? i’m really just having a hard time wrapping my head around those…cheerleaders. and a guy as your lead cheerleader?! leave to the Finns. but hey – great choreography!
had to watch 4 episodes of Galactica last night, back to back. we’ve been watching 2 episodes a night – at this rate we should have season 2 completed by the end of the weekend. last night we started w/ episode 209 ‘flight of the phoenix’. i can’t even remember exactly what happened in that episode – they’re all just kind of blurring together at this point. as the episode title suggests, though, the crew created a new fighter plane in this episode. what’s really important to note is that 209 was our first episode of the night – episode 210 introduced a brand new battlestar into the series, as the Battlestar Pegasus managed to stumble upon Galactica and their fleet. the commander of Pegasus was an Admiral, meaning that Adama was outranked and had to relinquish control of the fleet over to Admiral Cain of the Pegasus. what’s so crazy about this that we had to watch 2 more episodes and stay up much later than normal? Admiral Kane is what was so crazy. she killed people right and left, a real power-fuzzed nutcase. so of course when one of her lieutenants tries to rape the Cyclon Sharon, the Chief and Helo (both of Galactica) go apeshit and accidentally kill him in the ensuing brawl. Cain decides to summarily execute them both. this leads to slightly strained relations between Galactica and Pegasus, to say the least. both ships were on the verge of a shooting war when the episode ended. well OF COURSE we had to watch the next one!
well the next episode also left us hanging, as both Adama and Cain put aside their differences momentarily in order to make a surprise attack on the Cyclons. however, at the end of this episode, we see both Adama and Cain make preparations to assassinate each other following the raid. awesome. damn! i’m confused! i want to go to sleep, but i’m hooked!
one more episode later, the Cyclon ships are blown sky-high, Cain and Adama finally chill out, everyone’s psyched over this victory, and things are left at a tense yet acceptable truce. nobody assassinates anyone. until the Cyclon prisoner on the Pegasus (a #6 model, the same one that inhabits Baltar’s mind) breaks free and shoots Cain in the head. aaaahhhhh…relief. she’s dead. we went to sleep. damn Galactica. i love you.