Thursday, August 30, 2007

Buffy/Angel Wednesday (29 August)

I recognise that my blog has become nothing but "Buffy" of late, but until the details of my life change, that's the only thing I have worth blogging about.

This week, we just got in two episodes. Like last week, we followed the shows with a horror film. This time it was my pick, THE ABANDONED, that was part of the After Dark Horrorfest last November. It was a Spanish/UK/Bulgarian production, set in Russia, but in English. Yeah.

Horror is my favourite genre, and I make no apologies whatsoever about that. It's funny how often I hear people--even this very day--talking about my genre as though it's a cancer on the film industry, or a nasty influence on young people on the same level as drugs and gangs. But it brings me joy, gives me excitement and chills, and I've only killed three people since the start of the calendar year. I'd say that makes me pretty normal.

Anyway, bringing this back to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," I feel we get our weekly dose of Horror with each and every episode of "Buffy" and "Angel." Though a lot of people downplay the Horror element, preferring to focus on the Romance, Drama, Action, Comedy (man, I've even heard people refer to the series as Sci-Fi) . . . the Socially Correct stuff that you can talk about in mixed company.

But boys and girls, the show is totally Horror. The episode we watched this week, "Hush," was probably the most frightening one yet, and the baddies, the Gentlemen, were as scary as my high school typing teacher Mrs. Bigler. No lie and no exaggeration.

In "Hush," Bufanda has a dream in which she kisses Riley and there's a little girl chanting a creepy rhyme that, without any effort on my part, I found the text of:
"Can't even shout, can't even cry;
The Gentlemen are coming by.
Looking in windows, knocking on doors;
They need to take seven and they might take yours.
Can't call to Mom, can't say a word;
You're gonna die screaming, but you won't be heard."

God, that is so effed up. Well, Buffy's a bit disturbed by it too and mentions it to Giles. The titles roll.

I was happy to see Emma Caufield's name show up during the credits. When will they just make her a regular castmember and get it over with? Also during the credits, I saw Amber Benson's name listed. I asked tyranist how come that name looked familiar to me. He told me to sit and spin.

So, before the mayhem begins, we get several short character interactions. Riley does his regular Rish Outfield impression around Buffy, stammering through any meaningful conversation and stumbling over any sexual tension. Xander and Anya are in a lovers' quarrel over whether Xander truly cares about her, or is only in it for the orgasms. Willow mentions that she has a Wicca meeting to go to.

The Wiccans at this meeting are exactly the way the few I've encountered have behaved, which was why my impression of them was completely non-devil-worshippy, non-black magic-centric until tyranist corrected me.* They're all into nature and mysticism and listening to music and doing each others' nails and writing poetry and introspection and experimental drug use and giving each other secret nicknames and pretentiousness and lighting candles and incense and hating men and Easy Bake Ovens and helium balloons and affirmations and veganism and watching STEEL MAGNOLIAS and FRIED GREEN TOMATOES and IRREVERSIBLE and SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS and snuff films and BEACHES and the n-word and symbols and astrology and holding hands and braiding each others' hair and doing that silly trick where you lift somebody up while chanting "Light as a feather, straight as a board." You know, all that sort of stuff. Willow asks about casting spells and they dismiss her as having no idea what Wicca is all about. But there's one girl, a stuttery, backwards little thing called Tara that seems really receptive to Willow's suggestion.

So, the still-powerless Spike is still living at Giles's, but seems to be more of annoying flatmate than a prisoner now. Giles is expecting a visit from an old friend (who turns out to be his ladyfriend Olivia,** who we saw for maybe thirty seconds in the season opener) and tells Xander to take Spike to his place during that time.

At night, the Gentlemen arrive . . . a group of tall, thin, bald, grinning, pale, hollow-eyed creatures in black suits that don't walk but float as they move. They've got some companions, strait-jacketed creatures with mutilated faces that seem to do all the grunt work while the Gentlemen hover about, overseeing the mayhem. One of the Gentlemen has a wooden box, and he magically extracts all the townspeople's voices into it, so that when they awaken the next morning, no one can speak.

I know it sounds very trite and LITTLE MERMAID, but believe me, it wa'nt. Without the ability to talk to one another, communication breaks down, relationships break down, people break down, a car even breaks down. It has affected everyone, including Spike, but only those in Sunnydale were rendered mute. A news report on TV calls it a fluke outbreak of mass laryngitis, and people are really freaking out.***

Buffy and Willow buy dry-erase boards to communicate, and I mentioned to tyranist that had this just been a handful of years later, people would've just used gorram text messaging to communicate. I never thought I would miss the Nineties.

That evening, Buffy goes out patrolling and Riley and his Initiative pals do too. The two of them run into each other, and without words to toss a spanner into the works, they have a really good kiss. I'm reluctant to admit that Riley has started to grow on me, since I never thought it would happen.

The Gentlemen are busy, moving around campus, finding students, and carving out their hearts. With no screaming, and society already fragmented, no one knows the murders are going on.

Olivia sees one of the Gentlemen floating past her window and does a lovely charcoal sketch of it (okay, it might have been pencil). When she shows it to Giles, he does some research, finding the answers in a book of fairy tales rather than the collected works of Anton LeVay or Anne Rice.

He gathers the gang together and gives them a little presentation with an overhead projector (again, were this 2007, would it be done with PowerPoint?), letting them know the deal with the Gentlemen through block-letters and crude drawings. The villains are there to collect seven hearts, and have stolen everyone's voices because the scream of a princess can destroy them. Oh, and during this silent exchange, I think we hit the biggest laugh of the series so far, as everyone mistakes Buffy's "staking"-pantomime as something else.

That night, both Buffy and the Initiative are patrolling. Riley runs into the Gentlemen and Buffy at the same time, and they team up to fight them, both realising that the other is some kind of monster-fighter. At the same time, Tara seeks out Willow, and they combine their powers to silently use magic to protect themselves from the Gentlemen. Also, Xander sees Spike with blood on his face (from the refrigerator). Thinking Spike has attacked Anya, Xander begins to pummel him. This impresses Anya, and she makes the universal sign for Let's Get It On by Marvin Gaye.

Buffy and Riley fight the bad guys, Buffy using a crossbow and Riley using some kind of cool electricity-shooting thing (it may have been the severed hand of Emperor Palpatine). They discover the removed hearts and the box containing Sunnydale's voices. Buffy gets Riley to smash the box, and the laryngitis is ended. With her voice returned to her, Princess Buffy**** screams, exploding the heads of the Gentlemen.

The next day, Tara explains to Willow that she just knew she had something the other Wicca "students" didn't, so she sought her out. Olivia talks to Giles about how she always thought his stories about monsters were just stories. And Riley comes to Buffy's dorm to talk to her about their secret identities. Or maybe about their feelings for one another. Or maybe just about what it was like to fight beside her. Or maybe about the Packers game, I don't know, because they don't really know what to say, and hence, say nothing. The end.

My, another fine episode. I'm starting to get spoiled here. I have to admit that I'd heard someone somewhere talk about this episode once, and I was under the impression that it was a totally silent show, maybe an homage to Silent movies the way the later one is an homage to Musicals. I appreciate Joss not going that way, though now that I think about it, I'd gladly watch a Joss Whedon silent movie homage. I'd follow him into Hell, the magnificent bastard.

And that leads me to the next episode of "Angel," called "Parting Gifts." It answered a bit of my questions from last week, with Cordelia now mourning the loss of Doyle, wondering if he left anything permanent to remember him by. Meanwhile, a silly-looking demon is on the run from a Terminator-esque pursuer, and comes to Angel Investigations for help. His name is Barney and he's an empath, able to cheat at cards, or tell Cordelia she's sad. He's been chased by this unnamed predator since Phoenix, and when Angel goes to investigate, he finds a yellow goo as evidence of the particular demon they're facing. He also finds the Terminator lookalike: Wesley Wyndom-Price from last year's "Buffy." Wesley is now a rogue demon hunter, and has been chasing his quarry since Phoenix. They find the demon, and injure it, but it escapes.

Meanwhile, Cordelia has an audition for a commercial, and in the middle of it, has one of Doyle's visions. Apparently, they really hurt. She realises Doyle gave her the ability when he kissed her, so she tries to pass along the power by kissing Angel, Barney, and Wesley, when he first shows up.

In her vision, she saw a clear but unidentifiable shape, which she does a sketch of (though her sketch isn't as detailed as Olivia's was in "Hush"). She talks to Barney about her vision and he tells her that Doyle left her the most valuable gift he had, a pretty big deal.

Wesley finds the demon they encountered in a book, explaining its Asian origin, and Angel and Wesley head to Koreatown to locate it. They find it in a massage parlour, where it is dying. Its horn, with soul-draining properties, has been broken off and stolen. Wesley determines that the demon's killer . . . was Barney.

Barney, it seems, is a dealer of rare and supernatural items, and has been killing demons for their powers. In Cordelia, he's got the eyes of a seer, which will fetch quite a price. Empath or no, he's also a bit of a butthole. Cordelia almost turns the tables on him, but is ultimately captured and taken away.

Wesley blames himself, explaining that he was fired by the Watchers Council for losing both Buffy and Faith, and now he's lost Cordelia as well. Angel finds the sketch Cordelia did and recognises the sketch as a famous sculpture. Wesley uses the computer to find who owns the sculpture now (it's a hotel chain), and they head to one that's having an auction that day.

At the auction, the demon horn sells well, but Cordelia--still in possession of her seer's eyes--isn't going for a great deal. She starts to sell herself, encouraging many bids, and is finally purchased (for thirty grand) by the evil lawfirm that's plagued Angel since the first episode. Before her eyes can be extracted, Angel and Wesley arrive, and do battle with the baddies. Ultimately, Cordelia stabs Barney with the demon horn, killing him, and the trio go back to Angel Investigations. The enjoy a warm breakfast (which Angel apparently makes his employees after every business "day"), and it appears Wesley is here to stay. The end.

So, it looks like Doyle is really dead. I know I should trust Joss to REALLY kill characters, but all these years of television (and even worse, comic books) have ruined me from ever believing people are really, honestly, legitimately, truly, permanently dead. Maybe the next time someone kicks the bucket, I will accept that the bucket has truly been kicked, spilling all of its contents forever.

Wesley was, surprisingly, good to see again. He was as amusing as before, but more sympathetic due to his somewhat pathetic situation. As he appears to be here for the long haul, I'm glad I didn't groan when I saw him, like I would've with, for example, Harmony or Drusilla.

And that was my most recent Buffy Wednesday. Some action, a few scares, and a lot of laughs. With everything going so terribly wrong in my life, it's nice to have at least one high-quality "Buffy" and "Angel" to look forward to each week. Small moves, Ellie, small moves.

Rish Outfield

*"I corrected them, sir. And when my wife tried to prevent me from doing my duty . . . I corrected her."

**We know nothing about Olivia, except that she knew Giles as "Ripper," and before our questions can be answered as to how she knows Giles and HOW MUCH she knows, well, she ain't talking.

***I actually lost my voice a couple years ago one morning, and it was really disturbing. People thought I was joking around, but I literally couldn't speak until it went away (by that time, my next door neighbour's heart had been removed, but I never made the connection until just now).

****Though I'd say Sarah Michelle Gellar qualifies as a Scream Queen and not a Princess at this point.

Monday, August 27, 2007


I mentioned months ago that tyranist introduced me to EscapePod, a weekly podcast of Science Fiction and Fantasy short stories. Not long after, I introduced it to my pal Merrill, and he and I made a goal to listen to them all. He started at the end and I started at the beginning (which just made more sense to me), listening to them on our commutes and/or lunch breaks, or while mowing the lawn, going to the post office, or shaving the monkeys.

Well, Merrill handily beat me, but I have really been enjoying listening to these stories. And this week, I finally finished them all. There are some I like more than others ("Impossible Dreams" is a great one, as is the "Union Dues" series), but they're almost always worth listening to (I really enjoyed one called "Just Do It" and "Craphound" by Cory Doctorow).

And there's a way in which I'm different from a lot of people: if you're a non-professional writer, and you share something (be it with a class, a discussion group, a website, or a suicide note), you deserve my praise. Or at least my support. In L.A., I was part of a writers group that I tried to go to every other week. The writers there ranged from fiendishly brilliant (like my friend Brandon who has, like six shows on the air now), to truly horrendous (like the guy who would bring in his new pages of typo-ridden, unformatted misogyny each and every meeting), but you gotta be respectful, and you've got to at least acknowledge that it takes balls to put your . . . well, balls on the chopping block for other people to see.

In a college writing class, a guy wrote a wonderful, poignant story, about a boy who befriended a homeless man, and I was impressed and moved by it. It did, for me, what all the best stories do: it spoke to me on a personal level, and it's the only story from that class that I still remember.

But other people don't feel that way. There are some writers who unrepentantly bash the writing of others, and some podcasts out there who are so critical of the stories they present that I have to lose all respect for them. In this class, everyone felt obligated to "fix" the story, pointing out things they didn't like, lines of dialogue they found false, ways they would've written it better. When it came my turn to criticise his story, I gave it the second-best compliment I am capable of: "Dude, I loved this story. Don't change a word."

I understand why there was some eye-rolling, since that kind of comment doesn't help him improve his work, but you know what, if somebody said that to me, I'd be a hell of a lot more motivated to keep writing than the typical, "This doesn't sound like a real woman" or "I don't get the ending at all" or "Your characters lack motivation" or "I saw this in a movie just the other day" or "You obviously didn't do your research," all criticisms I've gotten before.

Encouragement is really important, and while I feel that criticism and nitpicking are helpful, I try to keep my remarks positive. People don't improve if they are so depressed by your feedback that they pull a Kraven the Hunter.*

I recognise that this may sound odd coming from someone whose review of JACK-O stated "What King Kong is to monkeys, this is to pieces of shit." But those are professional movies you can find at a video store by writers who were paid for them, and if it's just something an amateur filmmaker sent us, I'm much more forgiving (in fact, chances are that the lower the budget a film had, the more lenient I am with my criticism).

The only time in my writing career (or "career," if you prefer) that I shared one of my stories with my father, he focused so solely on the negative that a lesser boy would have esteem issues to this day. Apparently, "a lot" is two words, not one. So anyway, I believe in letting somebody know when they've done good work, because that should engender more good work.

Wait, I'm rambling again. I do that so much, I ought to call my blog that, or something similar. Whoops.

I'm not a very literate person. I really like books and I enjoy reading, but I probably read in a year what you read in a summer (or what my pal tyranist reads in a month). So Escapepod has been great to experience a lot of fiction (good fiction) with almost no time or effort on my part. I heartily recommend it.

I guess that's what I wanted to say.

Rish Outpod

*I'm sorry. You may not be a sad, pathetic geek, so you may need that phrase defined. My friend Matthew used to say, "Pull a Kraven" as a euphemism for suicide--specifically gun-related suicide--due to the way that Spider-man villain took his own life. I probably should've said, "Pulled a Kurt Cobain," but hey, everybody might have gotten that reference.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Buffy Wednesday (22 August 2007)

I've had a lot of time on my hands the last week or two, and I've used it to . . .

Wait, where have those days gone?

I figured I ought to do my best to get caught up on my blogging, so here I am, with the report on yesterday's "Buffy" and "Angel." Tyranist and I only watched one episode apiece, since I've been pressuring him to start watching Horror with me again. He said he hopes we never reach the day when we resent "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" because it takes us away from the things we really want to watch.

I don't see that happening, not if the show stays as good as it is till the end.

Also, this week, Best Buy is having a big sale on all the "Buffy" and "Angel" sets (I don't think it had anything to do with SERENITY coming out as a Collector's Edition, but it was pretty fortuitous that it worked out that way), and tyranist bought the whole collection. I'm kind of low on money right now, so I initially passed on the whole sale, but then I went back yesterday and bought a couple of the boxed sets. What can I say, I am weak.

Two episodes, "Something Blue" and "Hero."

"Something Blue" was our "Buffy" episode, and tyranist and I speculated on what the title referred to. Poor ineffectual Spike is still in Giles's house, still tied up, and is being kept in the bathtub (Buffy feeds him pig's blood from a mug reading "Kiss the Librarian"). He is understandably reluctant to tell them anything about the Initiative, since it's clear they'll have no reason to keep him alive when they've got the information. Willow suggests casting a truth spell on him, and Giles giddily agrees.

Before that can happen, though, Willow discovers that Oz has had all his things shipped to him, never to return to the show--er, the school. She drops into a depressed funk of Rish Outfieldian proportions, tries to drown her sorrows with alcohol, and finally turns to witchcraft, as we all have at one time or another. She casts a spell, asking that her will be granted. I don't know the show that well, I wonder if something might go wrong with it.

In a fatherly move, Giles comes over to see if he can help Willow, but she dismisses him, telling him he doesn't see anything. Not long after, Giles starts to go blind. Spike escapes his clutches, and when Xander tells Willow about this, she "wills" not only that Buffy catches Spike, but that the two of them ought to marry each other.

Well, others may find it shocking, but seeing Spike and Buffy in Nutrasweet love was quite amusing to me. The fact that they've hated each other up to this moment and are now smooching, baby talking, and planning their lives together could've gone on for episodes and I doubt I'd complain.

Oh, and she also tells Xander he's a demon magnet, and when demons start crawling out of the woodwork to get him, he realises that everything Willow said is coming true. The blue-skinned demon that turned our girl Anya into a vengeance demon appears before Willow and makes her the same offer. It reminded me, for some reason, of when the Devil was asked if Hilary Clinton had sold her soul to him, and he responded, "No, but I admire her work."*

Willow sees the error of her ways and turns the demon down. Despite my expectations that he'll destroy her--or at least be angry--he gives her the supernatural equivalent of his card and tells her to call him if she ever changes her mind. Willow understands the damage her wayward spell is causing and casts a counterspell to cancel its effects. Giles can see, the demons leave Xander alone, Han Solo shoots first, and Buffy and Spike find each other icky once again.

Hmmm, in recapping this one, I realise I've left out all the Riley Finn parts and didn't point out that Anya was in this episode. Or that Amy the Rat becomes human for a split-second and then turns back into a rat again. Sorry, it was a funny episode, I'll do better next time.

No, I won't.

"Hero" was the "Angel" episode, and I gotta tell you, most of my problems with this show are already severely-lessened, or totally out the window. Our man Tim Minear wrote this episode, with Howard Gordon, who wrote the BTVS episode, "What's My Line?" which introduced Kendra.

Angel is moping about due to what happened last week, and Cordelia is worried about money as usual. She comes up with a couple TV commercial ideas for Angel Investigations, and actually videotapes Doyle awkwardly giving the agency's pitch. "Come over and you'll see there are still heroes in this world," he reads, but Cordelia thinks he comes across as a weasel.

Doyle talks to Angel about what happened in "I Will Remember You," and proclaims Angel a real, honest-to-Joss Hero. He tells Cordelia what Angel did, and is inspired to be honest with her about his heritage. Before he can reveal that he's half-demon, though, he gets another of his pesky visions . . . this time of a bunch of odd-looking folks in hiding.

Turns out these are a group of docile demons who are being persecuted by an evil cadre of demons called the Scourge. The Scourge are basically Nazis with their skin turned inside out, and Doyle has inside knowledge of them. Some time ago, he was approached by a demon of his own kind (a Brachen demon; I looked it up), on the run from the Scourge, who are pure-blooded demons who hate anything "tainted" by human blood. Fearing for his safety, Doyle turns his "cousin" away, and gets his first vision: the Scourge killing those Brachen demons he refused to help.

Doyle tells Angel this shameful tale, and they offer to help the new group of demons emigrate to Central America, where they'll not only be safe, apparently, but get to take a nap every single afternoon. Cordelia is not thrilled about helping the creatures, but Doyle tries to explain to her that not all demons are bad, and that they ARE half-human, just like Catherine Zeta-Jones is. The refugees have a prophesy among them that a saviour will appear at the end of the century (this show aired in November 1999) to deliver them from the Scourge. Angel calls in a favour to get them on a ship that night which will take them to safety (guess the captain of that ship owed Angel a lot of money**).

Meanwhile, Doyle befriends one of the young demons, and tries to instill in him the belief that there are people worth putting your faith in, heroes, if you will. He gets the chance to prove this to him when the Scourge arrives, and Doyle risks himself to draw them away.

Angel meets up with the Scourge and tells them he wants to join them. They think vampires are the lowest form of half-breeds except for Texans and Puerto Ricans, but when Angel grabs Doyle (a hated Brachen demon) and breaks his neck, they like his moxie. Angel gets to put on a Fourth Reich uniform and attend one of their meetings, where they demonstrate a powerful weapon that disintegrates anything with human blood in the vicinity. We also find out the ship has been betrayed and the Scourge know where they are.

On that ship, Cordelia is with the refugee demons (I almost said "aliens." I wish there was a word that meant demons I could use instead of just "demons"), stalling the captain until Angel and Doyle show up. Upon mention of Doyle, one of the demons tells Cordelia that he understands their situation, being half demon himself.

Doyle, it turns out, is not dead, having a lot more resiliency in his demon form. He arrives with his new friend in tow, and Cordelia slaps him for lying to her. He tells her he was afraid she'd reject him if she knew, and in a moment of brilliance, Cordelia says, "But I already rejected you." Then she mentions that she works for a vampire and appeared in a movie called VOODOO MOON, she doesn't care that he's half-demon, and that he should just ask her out already. Wow, she's just full of surprises (and who knows, maybe VOODOO MOON is alright, too).

Angel arrives at the ship, but the Scourge is right behind. There's a panic, and the Scourge load their doomsday device aboard and turn it on. Angel explains how it works and thinks he can turn it off from atop it, which, unfortunately, will kill him. Doyle thinks it's a good plan, though, and he decks Angel, grabs Cordelia, and plants a big wet kiss on her (passing some odd blue light into her in the process). He turns into his demon self and climbs onto the device, managing to turn it off after it has already burned his flesh off, but before it vaporises him completely.

The Scourge, we can assume, were thwarted, and the refugees get away. Cordelia and Angel go back to the office and she shows him the tape Doyle made where he says, "There are still heroes in this world." The end.

This was another good one, but I felt like there was something missing, something that prevented it from being a great one. I don't know that tyranist felt the same way, but I sort of assumed he did. But you know, I actually like this episode a lot more in retelling it here. Guess it's like a "Saturday Night Live" sketch that way.

I really like the Doyle character. I don't know if he's really dead or not (that's one revelation that hasn't been spoiled for me), and by "dead," I guess I mean that he's off the show, since we've seen plenty of dead characters come back on these two shows. But it's not like this show is overflowing with cast members (funny, there's only ever two people on the cover of the DVD boxed sets, and Doyle ain't one of them), and it seemed Doyle had more to do and more to say than he could in, what, nine episodes, so my guess is, he'll be back. After all, he gave Cordelia his katra, didn't he?

My Irish friend John once told me, "A lot of times I'm tempted to kill myself, but I want to find out what happens next." Funny, we were on a rooftop when he said that. The statement made me laugh, then made me think. I think I can stick around a few days more, to find out what happens next on "Buffy" and "Angel."

You stick around too, okay?

Rish "Still Mr. Brightside" Outfield

*Obviously I didn't actually witness this exchange. But a friend of mine did, and he never ever lies about this sort of thing.

**You know, I can't imagine a vampire not having a lot of cash. You live long enough, and you start obtaining things, start gaining interest on investments, start planning for the future, right? He had that swanky apartment with the big sunny windows in Sunnydale . . . maybe he sold that to buy his building in L.A., and property values being what they are, it wiped out pretty much every cent he had to live there. I know, I've paid seven dollars to go to the mall in Beverly Hills a time or two.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Stupid Thing alternate

I don't really have a Stupid Thing to share today. Not because I haven't done or said stupid things--oh, quite the contrary--but because none are in the slightest bit amusing. Luckily, I had this alternate waiting in the wings.

When tyranist and I were in high school, we did a play together, and I believe it was around this time that we became friends. Tyranist's character was supposed to be bragging about all the great things one can see in the circus, including "Beautiful women on the big top."

We did a handful of performances, and in one of the performance, he messed up his line somehow so that "Beautiful women on the big top," became "Big beautiful women on the top!"

It wasn't a stupid thing (it was rather brilliant, really), but I figured I'd mention it. It's really the only memory I have of doing that play.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Buffy/Angel Wednesday (15 August 2007)

We've got four episodes to talk about this week, which ties the old record (and without steroids, as far as I know). I don't really have the sitting-around time to do a great blog this time. I will try, however, to say something about each episode.

Jeff's son lent me the first series of the new "Doctor Who" and I spent much of yesterday watching them. Good, good stuff.

The first "Angel" episode was called "Sense and Sensitivity" and it dealt with the character of Kate Lockley, policewomanofficer, being forced to attend sensitivity training. These classes have a sinister bent, however, and everyone in the department begins to get really touchy-feelie.

Kate and Angel work together to take down a mob boss with ties to the evil law firm we've seen since the first episode. Kate's father, also a cop, is retiring, and Kate takes Angel along as her date (though it's not really a date, I certainly would've called it a date, and irritatingly blogged about it already). Under the influence of a magic stick, Kate becomes embarrassingly emotional at the neglect she received from her father. It continues throughout the precinct, with the cops letting the prisoners out of their cells (whereupon the convicts attack them).

Angel confronts the instructor of the classes, and when he touches the stick, he gets all sensitive too. He hugs Cordelia and Doyle, and after saving Kate from the escaped Little Tony, hugs her too. Awww.

This episode was written by "Firefly" co-creator Tim Minear, and it was very funny. It also achieved the impressive feat of making me like Kate Lockley. I did wonder at the time what it would take to make me truly like Angel.

The next "Angel" episode we watched was called "Bachelor Party," and was a Doyle-centric show. In it, he bravely saves Cordelia from a vampiric foe when her handsome, rich, well-coiffed date flees in terror. For the first time, she is impressed with Doyle and, for the first time, considers maybe giving him a chance to woo her.

Unfortunately, Doyle's estranged wife Harry (or would it be Harrie?) shows up, wanting him to sign divorce papers, as she has fallen in love with a new man and they want to get married. The new man in her life, Richard, is a demon, played by longtime Whedon actor Carlos Jacott, and Harrie is a . . . what was it . . . an ethnodemonologist, having been intrigued when Doyle's demon side manifested itself when he was in his twenties.

We also find out in this episode that Doyle's full name is Allen Francis Doyle, that he never knew his father (I do hope that this pays off in the future), and that he has superhuman strength only when he transforms to his demon self. I don't believe this is the case with Angel, but I'm sure somebody knows for sure.

Richard is a nauseatingly nice guy, from a demon family, and he invites Doyle to come to his bachelor party, practically insisting that Doyle give him his blessing. It is revealed, though, that part of their demon traditions involve eating the brains of the first husband. Somehow, Richard still comes across as a nice guy.

Doyle takes Angel to the bachelor party, and Cordelia gets to go to Harrie's bachelorette party. Harrie brags Doyle up, and somehow Cordelia misses the part about how he's a demon. Angel overhears some of Richard's family's language and, suspicious, calls up Harrie for a translation. Before he can get it, he's jumped by some demonic partiers and tossed out on the street.*

Richard convinces Doyle to give his consent, which everyone takes as consent to participate in the brain-eating ritual. They put Doyle in a big old Captain Pike box, with only his head sticking out, and prepare to slice open his skull. Meanwhile, Harrie and Cordelia discover what the boys are planning and head over to stop it. Angel busts back in and there's a big fight. Doyle is freed. When the girls arrive, Richard explains that his family won't condone of him marrying a--gasp!--divorced woman unless he completes the ritual. Cordelia bashes Doyle over the head, thinking he's just another demon, and Harrie gives Richard his ring back.

Back at Angel Investigations, Doyle is feeling sorry for himself, but before Cordelia can cheer him up, he has another one of his patented visions . . . this time of a certain blonde back in Sunnydale who Angel needs to rescue.

Another good one. I guess, at this point, I should stop mentioning when it's a good "Angel" episode and just get used to the fact that it's not a bad show. Grumble.

Before we started on "Buffy" season four and "Angel" season one, tyranist consulted with the oracles and was told that the best way to go about it was to alternate between them, one episode at a time. It has already paid off greatly, but really, what more logical way to watch them is there than in the order they aired?

So that leads us to "Buffy"'s Thanksgiving episode, "Pangs," which originally aired the next week. In it, we get a guest appearance from Angel, as well as Anya, Spike, and Harmony (though I suppose Spike is no longer a guest and I should just get used to him being there).

At a groundbreaking on campus, Xander literally breaks some ground and falls into the ruins of an old mission, where he releases a vengeful Indian spirit (I originally said Native American, but I changed it for no good reason I'm willing to give). Xander gets very sick, and a couple of prominent authority figures around the site are murdered, their ears taken as trophies.

As her mother is out of town, Buffy has decided to gather everyone together for Thanksgiving dinner, despite Willow's aversion to the whole practice. Anya decides she will take care of Xander, and he accidentally calls her his girlfriend.

And Angel is around too, but staying out of sight, hoping to avoid an unpleasant confrontation with Buffy. Or hoping not to cause her pain by showing his face. Or just hoping not to bother her as she's trying to get on with her life. Pretty much everyone finds out about Angel and agrees to keep it a secret from Buffy.

Oh, and Spike is also roaming around town, in a horrible state, as he is unable to eat anything due to what the Initiative did to him or find rest due to the Initiative searching for him. He goes back to his old lair and finds Harmony unwilling to give him any sympathy or another chance.

The Indian spirit is getting revenge for what was done to his people by the original settlers of the area, killing the leaders and giving Xander the diseases his people caught from the white man, such as syphilis. When Buffy fights the spirit (and handily thrashes him), he calls forth more Indian spirits to attack their Thanksgiving dinner at Giles's.

Spike also goes there, hoping for some kind of mercy from the gang of good guys. They agree to take him in when he offers to tell them what he knows about the Initiative, and tie him to a chair. There is much argument over what to do about the Indian spirits, and whether it's politically and morally correct to kill them again. When the gang is attacked, pretty much everybody except for Spike fights, and Buffy realises that the spirits are susceptible to their Indian weapons. Angel helps out from the sidelines and the threat is quickly dealt with.

Angel skulks away, having not been discovered, and everyone sits down to a fine traditional feast. Oh, and during dinner, Xander accidentally mentions that Angel was there all along. The end.

Tyranist proclaimed this the best episode of the season, and I want to disagree with him, I really do. But I've got to say that it was probably the funniest show of the season so far. When Xander slaps Anya on the back and proclaims that his syphilis is clearing right up, I laughed hard enough to consider asking tyr to just start the episode over again from the beginning.

But we had one more show to watch. Back in 1999, the "Angel" episode "I Will Remember You" immediately followed this "Buffy," and we were lucky to have enough time to check it out as well.

Angel has returned to Los Angeles, and when he's telling Cordelia and Doyle about his trip, Cordie chews him out** about watching over Buffy without letting her know he was there. This sentiment is echoed by Buffy herself, who walks in the door, lowering the temperature at least ten degrees.

Buffy is understandably upset at Angel for not trusting her or treating her like an adult or respecting her enough to let her know what he was doing, and for the first time since "Amends" (and even more than in that episode), we're seeing Angel's point-of-view rather than Buffy's, understanding his motivations and feelings more than hers. In the middle of their argument, a green-skinned Samurai-looking demon with a red jewel in its forehead bursts through the window. Buffy and Angel fight it, and it retreats.

They give chase, following its glowing green blood into the sewers. Angel gets a little on him and it makes him feel strange. Buffy and Angel talk about their history and the unfinished business between them until they're forced to split up, with Buffy going to the sunlit surface and Angel staying in the shady sewers.

Angel runs into the potential assassin, a Morah Demon, and gets his hand sliced by the demon's sword. Angel vampires up and kills the demon with its own sword, getting some of that glowing blood on the cut in his hand. Suddenly, Angel's heart begins to beat . . . he has become a human once more.

Back at his office, Angel tells Doyldelia about his condition, and begins to eat everything in sight. He admires his reflection in a window and wants to know why this has happened to him (at this point, tyranist cynically mentioned that it was so the writers could get Buffy and Angel in bed together without him turning evil again, and I had to agree). Doyle tells him about the Oracles that represent The Powers That Be, the ethereal forces for Good in the Angelverse. Yikes, I just said Angelverse. Me, who swore never to use the term "Buffyverse."

The Oracles are a male and a female with gold skin who remind me of Greek gods. They tell Angel that he is indeed human now and that he no longer has to do their bidding, referring (I guess) to the visions they've been sending Doyle since "Angel" began. Angel finds Buffy at the Santa Monica Pier, where she responds to his walking around in daylight with some passionate snogging. This continues to Angel's bedroom, where they make a day--and presumably a night--of it. Buffy expresses how happy she is in that moment, with everything perfect, and if life has taught me anything, it's that that can only portend disaster.

Sure enough, Doyle gets a vision of the Morah demon regenerating and tells Angel about it. Angel, for some reason, decides to leave Buffy out of it,*** and he and Doyle head off to the demon's lair to kill it again. For the second time, Buffy awakens to find Angel gone from her bed (and I had to wonder how scared that made her), and gets it out of Cordelia where Angel has gone.

The Morah demon is more than a match for Doyle and newly-human Angel, and you've got to think that it gets a visceral thrill from pummelling Angel. Buffy shows up just in time and fights it, ignoring its promises of the End of Days and a deluge of demons on the way. Following Angel's tip to smash the jewel in the demon's forehead, Buffy beats it easily. When she does, it disappears in a barrage of red light, this time permanently dead.

Angel goes back to the Oracles, asking them about the prophecies the demon made. They tell him that yes, the Slayer will die, but it's no longer any of his concern. Angel asks them to turn him back into a vampire, so that he can help stop this apocalypse, but more importantly, so the woman he loves won't be killed. The Oracles reluctantly agree, and proclaim that the entire day will restart, and only Angel will know what happened the first time.

He goes back to Buffy and tells her of his decision. At first, she is pissed, but as she sees the time running out, she weeps at the love that will be lost between them. Angel too cries as he holds her and kisses her and says his goodbyes. She tells him she'll remember but the scene resets to the day before, when she was in his office and reading him the riot act**** for his treatment of her back in Sunnydale. In the middle of the argument, the green-skinned Morah demon bursts through the window, and Angel immediately shatters the crystal in its forehead, killing it before Buffy can even react.

Buffy and Angel share a couple more words about needing to go their separate ways, and though it pains him to do so, Angel lets her walk away. The end.

Holy cow, folks, this was a good one. I doubt this will be the last time Buffy and Angel cross paths, but if it is, what a great way for their relationship to end. It was amusing, romantic, and desperately sad, and Angel was just so understandable and noble that, yes, it happened, I really liked him. "Angel" co-creator David Greenwalt and someone named Jeannine Renshaw wrote this episode, David Grossman directed it, and bully for them, really.

I think I actually liked this episode of "Angel" more than tyranist did, since I proclaimed it better than any first season "Buffy" and maybe better than being fondled by a strange man in the corner of a mall video arcade. Wait, was that an overshare? I apologise and will not mention that experience again.

Well, I've been sitting here for what seemed like hours, and when I looked at the clock, I found it had been hours. Thank Kali I don't have anything better to do with my time, huh?

Rish "Buf-gelverse" Outfield

*I do admit I secretly thrill every time somebody attempts to beat up or kill Angel, not realising he's a vampire (I think the first time it happened was with Faith's evil Watcher, and I haven't yet gotten tired of it).

**I grew up in the Eighties, and this was a phrase we often used. It would be nice if you would use it too, just to pretend I'm not getting old.

***I thought about this for a while, wondering why Angel would do this (besides the obvious reason of "because that's how it was written"), and came up with this No Prize-seeking explanation: Angel comes from a different time, when women were not equel to men, and men didn't bother their families about what they considered their troubles and responsibilities. He doesn't disrespect Buffy, he just wants to shield her from the weight of the world, the way a man is supposed to protect a woman.
And maybe he wanted some time alone with Doyle to tell him how the sex went.

****A phrase they used before the Eighties, but you can start saying this again too, if you like.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


11 August 2007

After two years, I'm taking down my "Magneto Was Right" homemade bumper sticker.

I've thought about taking it down for more than a year now. In L.A., people seemed to get the gist of it (some dude at Sony asked if it was some kind of political statement), but here in Wal-martland, it falls on deaf eyes.*

I've never been too pleased with the way the lettering turned out (or that I was too lazy to colour the helmet red), and I have something I can replace it with, so there goes.

Rish (was probably wrong) Outfield

*A woman at a red light one time asked Merrill and me, "What is Magento?" which I pretended I didn't understand.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Buff-gel Wednesday (8 August)

This is sort of a cheat because we watched an "Angel" before Buffy Wednesday.

The "Angel" we watched was called "Room with a View," and it was a little uncomfortable for me, because we were watching it with a bunch of people, including an older woman who'd never seen "Angel" before.

This episode was mostly about Cordelia, and I found myself really liking her, which is a shock. Basically, her apartment is a shithole, and Doyle uses his connections to find her a better one. What she gets is a spacious, affordable, and beautiful apartment . . . that happens to be haunted by an insufferably nasty old woman.

She torments poor Cordelia until she's a wreck, but is unwilling to move away (which I found charming), and eventually tries to convince her to kill herself. In the end, Cordelia is reminded of how much of a gigantic bitch she used to be in high school, and turns the tables on the ghost, who had bricked up her own son in one of the walls. After dispatching his mother's spirit, the son's ghost (named Dennis) stays in the place, and so does Cordelia.

There was also a subplot involving demon loan sharks out for Doyle's neck, and it is revealed that Angel knows nothing of Doyle's shady past, but that someday, the story will be told.

This was a really good episode. They broke with the formula I complained about in my last post (or maybe every post), and I dug it. Two of the five episodes we've watched have been very good, and while I'd rather watch "Buffy," I wouldn't mind seeing more along the lines of this one.

A couple of days later, we got two "Buffy"s, and while I don't think either will be in the running for best episode of the season, they were both good.

First up was "Wild At Heart," which finally reveals what is up with the rather odd-looking girl Oz seems to have a fixation for. Her name is Veruca, and guess what, she's also a werewolf. Oz is drawn to her (especially when he finds out the truth), which vexes Willow greatly, and for some reason, he declines to tell Willow about Veruca's gift/curse/ability, or the fact that they woke up in the woods together, scratched and naked.

Willow talks to both Buffy and Xander about Oz's straying eyes, and I fully expected her to talk to Giles next (or call up Angel on the phone), since she talked to the whole cast except Oz about her worries about Oz.

Also, we caught a brief glimpse of Spike, who is captured by the masked soldier-types we've seen lurking around all season long. And Buffy gets closer to T.A. Reily Finn and the horrid Professor Walsh.

Oz, meanwhile, is struggling with his attraction to Veruca, who completely embraces her lupine nature, and has a frank sexual attitude reminiscent of a skankier version of Faith. But she isn't even slutty in an attractive way, there's something really, really dirty about her. In a way, she reminds me of the fat girl at my job who got her stomach stapled then had sex (or tried to have sex) with all the guys who had slighted her before.*

Oz has been locking himself in a crypt during his Three Nights of Fur, and he persuades Veruca to join him, to protect her potential human victims. Unfortunately, Willow couldn't ask for a worse sight than walking in to find the two of them in the cage together, naked and . . . well, naked. He tries to explain, and to her credit, she listens to at least part of his explanation before "Dawson's Creek"ing it out of there. She is clearly devastated by this, 'cause she walks out in traffic and is nearly flattened by a car. Before night falls, Buffy and Oz go after Veruca, knowing that Willow will be her next target.

Willow, meanwhile, has broken out of her daze, and begins casting a blackest magic curse on Oz and Veruca, the intent of which is anything but subtle and the furthest thing from pure. At the last moment, she changes her mind, and stops the spell. Veruca is standing behind her, not at all surprised at what's going on. As the sun is going down (though shouldn't it be when the moon comes up?), she locks the door and waits for her transformation. Oz arrives just in time and they both wolf out and fight. Oz tears Veruca's throat out, then turns on Willow. Buffy arrives and shoots Oz with a tranquilizer, putting him to sleep.

The next day, Oz is packing his things. I guess his plan was just to leave without saying goodbye, but Willow confronts him before he can go. he's worried about the beast inside him and the animal impulses he felt around Veruca, and needs some time alone to sort it all out. Willow doesn't want him to go, but he flees to his van. For a moment, it looks like he might change his mind, then he drives away. The end.

Look, I've never been a huge fan of the Oz and Willow relationship**, for reasons I've already explained, but I gotta tell you . . . this was the first episode in the whole run where I felt genuine FEAR for the characters. Sure, I've been afraid for poor Buffy before, and when Giles was being tortured and Drusilla pretended to be Ms. Calendar scared me too . . . but when Willow got all Lord-and-Master-Satan-please-hear-my-cry-of-vengeance, I was freaking out. It didn't hurt that I'd heard Oz was leaving the show, never to return, but dang, girl, Willow is good people, and what she was up to was seriously ungood.

And there's another strength of Joss's writing: good people do bad things sometimes. Evil people do good things. Smart people do stupid things. Sweet people do nasty things. Heck, by that logic, I may someday do something brilliant and heroic and impressive and successful.

I could begin my rant about the soulless, uninterestingly perfect characters that I've seen pop up in youth-oriented entertainment over the last decade, and how insulting, fabricated, and-yet-somehow bland it all is . . . but I won't.

I once pledged my soul to Satan in exchange for the death of radio personality Paul Harvey. But Satan said Harvey was untouchable, having beaten me to it by several years.

I sense I'm digressing here. The second "Buffy" was called "The Initiative," and right out of the box, I knew something was different. Turns out that Seth Green was no longer in the opening credits, and has been replaced, surprisingly, by James Marsters as Spike. This made me pretty happy, actually, because Spike is everything I wish I could be . . . except for his tendency to get his arse kicked. That I can do already.

In this episode, we meet Riley Finn's two frat bros, who lust after Buffy, while Riley just thinks she's peculiar. Willow is depressed over Oz having been replaced by Spike, and Professor Walsh makes it worse by being less sympathetic to her situation than the Red Skull would be.*** Buffy decides to take Willow to a party at the guys' frathouse to cheer her up.

Meanwhile, Spike is being held, along with several demons and vampires, in a big underground containment unit and research facility. This industrious group is known as The Initiative and they drop a packet of blood into Spike's cell for him to eat, but he is warned that it is drugged by another inmate. Spike pretends to be drugged and when they come in to get him, he escapes. He gets back to his lair to find Harmony there, redecorating (it wasn't until tyranist pointed out that she was putting a unicorn poster up amid the Gothic decor that I started laughing). Instead of giving her the attention she craves, Spike leaves Harmony to go after Buffy again.

Riley is still thinking about Buffy, and when our man Parker boasts about bedding her, Riley decks him. With that, he realises that he really likes her. At the party that night, he tries to woo Buffy (with Willow's semi-reluctant help), but comes across as awkward and bumbling. Now I see why people occasionally refer to this show as Science Fiction.

Xander and Giles haven't much to do lately (Giles has even taken to attending the Bronze, hoping to remain relevant), but Xander stumbles across Harmony, who is heartbroken over Spike. Xander and Harmony fight, but it is the girliest, slappiest confrontation the world has ever known. If anyone besides the audience witnessed it, Xander might never have sex again.

Regardless, Xander finds Buffy at the party and warns her that Spike is after her (to her credit, she doesn't roll her eyes), leaving Riley alone. But he's not quite alone, for it is revealed that he is a he is a sort of commander within The Initiative, which is led by Professor Walsh. They have a gigantic underground facility and go out after their escaped quarry, Spike.

Buffy and Reily run into each other and each tries to get rid of the other before Spike shows up. Spike, however, has gone to Buffy's dorm to find her, and when he knocks, Willow invites him in.

He attacks her, but is unable to perform. Willow tries to reassure him that it happens to everybody, but he just can't figure out why he can't kill her. Spike also says, "Don't patronize me," with "patron" rhyming with "matron," rather than the correcter "patronise," which apparently gives away that he's not British. Darn.

Willow screams while trying to escape Spike, bringing both Buffy and the Initiative. Because they want to capture Willow as well, Buffy fights Riley and the soldier-types, who amid the dark, flashing lights, and confusion, aren't able to identify her.**** Spike escapes, and the Initiative guys leave also. It seems they did some work on him, implanting an inhibitor that prevents him from killing people. We'll have to see where that goes.

I'm a little late getting this post done, and we'll see if I do better next week. I'm thinking I might go fishing this afternoon, which I hardly ever do. And I don't know why I shared that with you. Blog to you later.

Rish "The Uninitiative" Outfield

*Sometimes I wonder if I made the right decision being creeped out the times her advances swung my way. I turned her down, and she moved on to the next guy, but I suppose I could've taken her up on it. But how would that have been? I mean, sex with a person who hates all men and was horrible to me even when she was rotund wouldn't really be something to brag about with the guys in between Super Bowl commercials, is it?

**I just realised I made this lofty statement, but I've been a fan of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" for, what, three months? I wholeheartedly apologise for that comment.

***'Cause Red Skull was a Nazi and Willow is Jewish, see?

****Tyranist was pretty sure Riley recognised Buffy, but I don't know if he's right or not.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

"This may be the end of Spider-man."

. . . And it certainly was for Hal Fishman, who passed away this morning.

August 7th, 2007

If you live in Los Angeles, there are two TV news anchors that you automatically know, no matter who you are. Hal Fishman was one.* He was seventy-five years old, and they kept him at the anchor desk night after night, despite the superficial, youth-and-beauty-obsessed nature of L.A. television.

He just seemed to me like a respectable, decent man of integrity, the way Walter Cronkite did to my parents' generation. He was on the air for almost fifty years, one of those stalwart TV personalities that we grow to love (or at least feel affection for) simply due to familiarity.

And I certainly liked the man. There was something so affably goofy about his face, his slightly-less-than-iconic voice, and the absurd name Hal Fishman was so surreal, you'd never forget it.

I, and a little trio of friends, worked at the same office in Culver City for a couple of years, and we would talk about Hal Fishman all the time . . . specifically, a KTLA commercial they showed a lot where people were a little too exuberant about Channel Five anchorman Hal Fishman. We didn't get how anybody could be that excited about the man, despite being on camera at the time.

So we joked about people in bed, climaxing to "Hal Fishmaaaan!!" coming up with more and more elaborate scenarios wherein . . .

Well, I'm digressing.

Also, around that time, someone gave me a poster of Jedi Master Yoda with Hal Fishman's superimposed head on it that I put up in my cubicle. It was an odd effect, prompting people passing by to say, "Is that Hal Fishman?" and "You should be fired."

I will look around for it and stick it up here if I find it.

Wait, this has spiraled out of control. I was meaning to talk about how a respectable dude he was, and that he worked up to last week, and now he's dead, and how I was the only person in Walmartland to exclaim, "Hal Fishman!" when he appeared in SPIDER-MAN 3.

Okay, maybe I should leave him alone and go back to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." A place where nobody ever dies.

Hal Rishman Outfield

*The other was Lauren Sanchez, but not for the same reason.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The 5th Comic-Con story

Okay, I thought of the fifth story I was going to tell. Turns out it wasn't even a story, just a couple sentences I was going to mention earlier, but ah well.

So, I was at Comic-Con as a fan and as a horror film critic, and I was able to interview a couple of people while I was there. I got to go in the press room and sit around and listen to McG talk for a minute, then I met the press coordinator and she took my name down and told me where I was on the rotation.

There were several tables laid out and the interviewers basically stayed where they were and the interviewees moved from table to table for five minutes (or whatever time their representative felt was enough) to answer a question or three.

In the time I was there, I chatted it up with a guy named Kevin, who is also a webmaster (which sounds like a Spider-man villain, so I won't be using that term again) and there to do the same interviews as me. He was a big dude and had a laptop and microphone and said he had been doing interviews since Hector was a smaller dog and planned on winging it. He said he could do his interview with me, if I wanted, and I passed on his kind offer. A moment or two later, having not seen the movies I'd be asking questions about, I started to think that my meager list of questions would not suffice, I took Kevin up on his offer to do the interviews together. He was a very nice guy, even if I felt like he was the sensei and I was just Daniel Larusso's kid brother.

While I was waiting for my turn, I noticed Missy Peregrym, one of the actresses on "Heroes" and the upcoming "Reaper," sitting at the table across from us, eating her lunch. I thought, "If I were interviewing her, I'd have some interesting questions to ask." As she finished her lunch, I asked if I could throw a "Heroes" question at her. She said sure and I asked away. Amazingly, she seemed to have no problem talking to me about "Heroes" and "Reaper" and some movie she was in called STICK IT right up until it was time for me to do my real "job." It was odd because things were so casual and easygoing, and when the actual Interviews started, I was much more nervous and worried about it.

Also, my camera worked just fine to get a picture of Missy. No such luck when it came time to do Horror Film Compendium stuff.

Sorry, tyranist.

Rish Barbara Walters Outfield

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Stupid Thing of the Week

This isn't a rant. It's not even enough to be a mini-rant.

I just hate the new slogan of the high-def DVD promotion. I find it to be so stupid it's actually insulting. It's right there on the packaging and even voiced-over in the advertising: "HD-DVD. The look and sound of perfect."

I could, however, do a full, expletive-riddled rant about how retarded that sounds, and how furious I become that they don't say "The look and sound IS perfect" or "The look and sound of PERFECTION."

Oh, I'm sorry, how retard that sounds and how fury I become.

And now, on with the countdown.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

5 Comic-Con Stories

1. My cousin wanted me to buy him one of the STAR WARS statues they were selling only at the Gentle Giant booth. In fact, he wanted me to buy him two. But I hadn't counted on how in demand (or how limited) these darn statues would be, and day after day, I stood in line only to have them sell out, or wasn't allowed in the line at all.

On the last day, after calling my cousin to tell him I hadn't been able to get his two statues (I had to leave a message, as he was at church. I know because he sent me a text message from there an hour later), I decided to really try my hardest, trying to get a statue voucher as soon as I arrived (I failed), then lining up as soon as they said people could. The queue was long and slow-moving, so I spent the next two hours listening to people tell me about the panels they'd gone to and the adventures they'd had. After a while and without a word, the man directly in front of me suddenly stepped out of the line and walked away. I thought that was odd, since he'd just wasted half his morning with us . . . and then I smelled it.

The man had farted, and very badly. Rather than stew in it, or draw our ire, he just took off, never to return.

2. In the same line, but on a different day, I encountered a very angry guy. He had gone to the Jessica Alba panel (I don't even recall what she was promoting; maybe GOOD LUCK CHUCK) and a very lucky few got tickets for a brief signing. He wasn't one of them. He had gone to one of the organisers and demanded he be allowed to go to the signing because he had been a New York City firefighter on September 11th. For some reason, the unAmerican bastages didn't feel that he deserved special treatment because of that. So, for ten minutes, I got to hear him complain about it, and tell us what it was like to pull bodies out of the remains of the World Trade Center. When I couldn't stand to hear anymore, I leaned in and muttered, "Dude, that should've entitled you to SLEEP with Jessica Alba, let alone get her autograph." Not missing a beat, the fireman told me that in the days following the 2001 terrorist attacks, his experience had indeed gotten him laid a multitude of times.

Poor guy.

3. I usually check Kevin Smith out at a panel or Q&A once a year and go to see him at his Secret Stash store almost that often. But not anymore. But it is still grand to see him work a crowd and make two or three hours fly by. He showed the pilot of "Reaper" which he directed, and brought out some of the cast and crew. I was surprised to see him really tear into a heckler at his Q&A, because although it was funny, he mercilessly pounded this guy into the ground until he left the building to lay down in traffic.*

4. On Sunday, they were giving away INDIANA JONES IV posters, and I took two. They were also giving away t-shirts to Paramount projects, like BEOWULF, STAR TREK XI, and INDY 4, but you had to go elsewhere to get a voucher for one, and when you went elsewhere there was a--guess what?--line to get one. And that line was capped the three times I went over, so I ended up hitting the Paramount booth several times that day. I felt a little guilty taking an INDY 4 poster everytime I went, until I saw a big fat bald guy grab them all. I shit you not, boys and girls, he grabbed a stack of sixty or seventy posters, so thick he had to double it over his forearm to carry it, and walked out. This guy, my friend, is what's wrong with people. And it's precisely the reason a hundred late-arriving Indy Jones fans didn't get a poster (and will be picking theirs up on eBay, preferably from me instead of him).

5. I had a fifth story all figured out, but now I don't remember what it was. Never get old, kids.

Rish Out-something

*Basically, the guy got up and said, "When are you going to make a movie that isn't either just a retread of the same stupid characters or doesn't totally suck?" The audience booed, and Kevin smirked and said, "No, no, that's a good question. And I really am going to get to that . . . just as soon as I pull my dick out of your mom's ass." But then he just wailed on the guy, going on and on, until he walked down the aisles, flipping Kev the bird, and left Hall H.