Friday, May 22, 2009

Poor-man's Gin Melon

  1. Dice one-half melon on sale in the reduced produced section of your co-op (bonus points for getting an additional discount for being an employee).
  2. Line a martini glass with citrus bitters your mom bought you (the bitters and the glass).
  3. Fill glass with desired amount of pre-chilled gin (mid-shelf--good enough but won't break the bank. I prefer Gordon's).
  4. Skewer melon pieces on a toothpick and garnish.
  5. Slurp down in a folding chair on your lawn on a spring day.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Adaptations are tricky things

But this short film based on Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" looks good:

It looks impressionistic enough, and they wisely choose to make a short film, instead of stretch it out to a feature-length movie.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

So I saw Star Trek

First, here is yet another articulate article talking about the historical significance of the original series of Star Trek.

I went to a matinee today. And I will agree--it was entertaining. It's the kind of movie perfect to see on the big screen--huge explosions, huge emotions, huge homages. So besides being enjoyable, what did I actually think? Of course I have mixed feelings.

*Mild spoilers follow*

First, the conceit of having a time-traveling Romulan essentially "reboot" the entire series so Abrams can do whatever the hell he wants with it is part fascinating (ha), part genius, and part annoying. It sort of fits in with the Star Trek universe. Though Star Trek has used time travel at times, it has never really treated time travel in the Terminator fashion or in any sort of existential fashion or in any way more than a simple plot device. This time travel not only reinvents the Star Trek universe, it has intimations of being deep, but is really just a device to allow Abrams to mess with the mythology without getting into too much trouble for it.

Second, nitpicky things: Cameron from House is Kirk's mom? Bruce Greenwood is a great actor, but too old to be Christopher Pike in this movie. Nokia and Budweiser and The Beastie Boys survive to the 23rd century, huh? Red matter? Where is Pike's #1? How can they enter an atmosphere in merely space suits? Fuckin' Tyler Perry.

Third, not exactly nitpicky, but...Spock and Uhura? It's kind of awesome and almost makes sense, but also is kind of weird. I couldn't get used to it the whole movie.

Now to the actors: all of them great. Except Chris Pine. I can't fault him: he really tried his darndest to be James Tiberius Kirk. And there were glimpses of moments. But he just can't do it. No one can. I almost wish that they had just let 90-year-old William Shatner keep doing the role, no matter how incongruous. But yes, all the other actors were great in their iconic roles. Two (excellent) exceptions: Spock and Scotty. Of course I love Simon Pegg, but his Montgomery Scott injected some non-forced humor into the film, and his exuberance translated on screen so well, and really, he was just a pleasure. And Zachary Quinto as Spock was amazing. He captured the character in a way that made the rest of the actors look like they were just doing caricatures. His voice, his smirk, his raised eyebrow, his eyes struggling with emotion and logic--I understand why Nimoy personally passed the torch.

My obligatory J. J. Abrams complaint: Abrams is a sentimental hack. Women and children are just objects of emotion for men. He puts way too much superficial emphasis on relationships and family. All under the veneer of women being tough and wise and beautiful. I find it a bit insidiously ick.

But of course at the end, they play the classic theme song, and Spock recites the monologue, and I tear up. And if for nothing else, for a space nerd like me, that made it all worth it.

Maybe in the future, he will at least appear...

Oh, and though I did miss the social subtext in this film, I do have a sense of humor about my nerdiness. The Onion, as always, brilliantly illustrates.

Okay, I'll shut up now about Star Trek.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A nerdy moment

A short column in the New York Times has an interesting take on Star Trek and the new movie.

I am a huge fan of the original series. It used to repeat every afternoon on one of the local UHF stations when I was growing up. My mom watched it. At first I hated it for that hour when she would make me stop watching PBS or Happy Days and turn it to Star Trek. But somehow it finally won me over. When we got a VCR, we taped the episodes off of tv, and I watched those tapes for years to come until they wore out and you could barely see or hear the show through the fuzz. This, coupled with growing up with Star Wars, is probably what turned me into a sci-fi nerd.

I liked Next Generation, but never watched it religiously. Never even seen Voyager or Deep Space Nine, and only watched the first episode of Enterprise. I have seen all the movies (except for the first one--I don't know why). And I still love II through IV (though the fifth one is ridiculous). Steven Lloyd Wilson has excellent recaps of the whole movie franchise over on Pajiba.

When there was news that a new movie was coming out, I was excited. The first trailer (sometime last year) got me pumped. But as time went on, I have become less and less interested, and even worried. I actually have a theory that J. J. Abrams is not as great as everyone thinks he is (detailed at another time), and I'm worried that he is going to fuck this up. It seems to screw with the mythology. It seems to be a little too action-packed. And what I don't understand is how if all this crazy stuff happened when they were young, how could anything that happened afterward ever surprise, intrigue or scare them? And Abrams cast Tyler Perry, which is pretty near a dealbreaker for me. At this point, the only reason for me to see it is that Simon Pegg is in it.

But it has been getting decent reviews. Pretty good reviews, in fact. (And Maureen Dowd has a typically amusing political take on the whole thing.) The only one that gives me pause is the on in The New Yorker, where Lane points out that this movie doesn't have the social subtext of the series and the movies. And though the movie might be enjoyable, and the New York Times article above points out how a prequel fits in with the postmodern kitschiness and pastische of the original, I think The New Yorker nails my reservations about much of the whole venture.

But who am I kidding? Of course I'll see it. And then we'll see how I feel.


6 aged
former creations
in the back
of your own
mind whispering
truths and
nonsense to
the rising tide


her body is not cut;
it is comfortable.
when they lay in bed
her smooth tummy contours
to his own wonderfully imperfect body,
not in submission, but
with welcome.