Friday, October 31, 2008

Shut Up or DIE

I saved this one for Halloween. I've known Tony Burgess for years. I worked with Tony as his editor for a book of short stories called "Fiction for Lovers." The book went on to win the ReLit Award (the only literary award I know of where the author AND the editor are honored, and I got a cool Tolkien-looking inscribed ring) and I've always been very proud of it. In fact, you can buy it here! (Plug plug):

Before Fiction for Lovers, Tony wrote a book called Pontypool Changes Everything. Set in Ontario cottage country, it's a psychological horror novel about how language begins infecting people and they turn into flesh-eating zombie-type monsters, virtually annihilating the population of the area. Then Bruce McDonald, of Hard Core Logo, Road Kill, and Highway 61 (one of my all-time favourite movies) fame, came a-knocking and bought the film rights to the book. The option went on as Tony tried several times to write a script that could capture visually what he'd successfully achieved on a psychological level in the book, but it got increasingly difficult, and script after script was tossed out.

And then, one day, he came up with the idea of placing the suspense and terror in words and NOT visuals, and boom, the script came out, and it worked.

Unfortunately, I missed it at the film festival (we, the publishers of the book, stupidly thought we might actually get tickets, but those were all reserved for people who worked in the mailroom at Visa or something), but it's skedded to open in March in Canada. The movie has been getting rave reviews already (Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly opened her article about the film festival by talking about it) and here is the trailer, for your viewing pleasure. Scary stuff!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Reminder: 30 Rock Returns Tonight!

We've all been adoring her hilarious send-ups of Sarah Palin, but tonight she's back as Liz Lemon, that TV writer we all love to love. There may be some political jokes in there, or they could just stick to the story of a group of people trying to do a live sketch show on NBC. If you haven't checked out 30 Rock yet, tune in tonight and see if it's your thing. There's a reason it's won Emmys for Best Comedy both years it's been on.

And I can't resist, even though I'd tried for a week: if you haven't watched last week's sketch of Will Ferrell playing George W. Bush as he tried to endorse a reluctant John McCain and a willing Sarah Palin, check it out here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Okay, I've tried to be calm, I've tried to be nice. I've expressed my unbridled exuberance over Pushing Daisies and insisted everyone watch it.

But then I read this. Oh yes, it's currently on the bubble for cancellation.

I am not above begging. No, I am not. So here goes: PLEEEEEEAAAAASE, please please please watch this show. PLEASE. I beg you. When you watch it, it will send you into ecstacies. Never before does a show make me feel like this while I'm watching it:

And then Ned will say something adorable to Chuck, and I feel like this:

Oh god, you're thinking. She's brought out the babies and dogs. She MUST be serious.

Oh yes. I am serious. I'm bringing out the big guns on this one.

And by the end of the episode, I'm like this:

Are you going to let this show be cancelled? Can you go to sleep at night knowing you contributed to me no longer feeling like a joyful bijon frise while I watch my beloved Piemaker and his beloved beekeeper as they work alongside my very beloved Olive?

This show is remarkable. Please don't let it go. Watch it. Tell everyone you know to watch it. Watch it again. Buy the DVDs. Buy the DVDs as Christmas presents. Send out your Christmas cards with giant post-its inside telling people to watch Pushing Daisies.

Or I will look like this:

You just don't want that on your conscience. Losing Pushing Daisies will be worse than losing so many Fox shows in their first five episodes. Worse than losing Journeyman. Worse than the McCain/Palin ticket winning... (Wait... okay, I'd have to think about that one seriously. Very, very few things would be worse than that.) But this would be ALMOST AS BAD as the McCain/Palin ticket winning.

Watch Pushing Daisies. You'll thank me for it. And then we can all feel like happy little fluffy dogs racing through the fields.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Lost Season 5 Promo - Analyzed

All right, I've got a good three months before I can fully analyze an episode of Lost, so indulge me and allow me to take a really close look at Lost's new official promo. You can see it here. First, it opens with several shots from season 4, including (yeah, I know I won't let this go) a shot of Jin over the words, "What they lived for." LIVED. Is Jin alive?

But onto the preview shots from season 5. The key line for me is Ben's, at the very end, "Well thank goodness for second chances." I'm going to suggest that season 5 will be about going back in time and living everything over again. If you pause the screen quickly as Jack tells Ben that Locke had told him bad things had happened on the island, you'll see the words "Dharma Initiative" flash over the screen. Is the DI the "very bad thing" that happened to the island? As in, did Ben move it back in time and the DI was back with a vengeance, trying to prevent the Purge from happening this time around? What are the chances that by moving things back in time, Ben's created a Groundhog Day effect where the people on the island have to relive events that have already happened? We see Juliet uncovering a window that was exactly like the Hatch window that Locke uncovered in season 1. We see the Beechcraft plane fall out of the sky again.

There's been some speculation about how Ben moved the island -- did he move it in space or in time? I was chatting with the time loop theory guy the other day and said to him I don't understand how he could have just moved it in time. After all, even if you move it back to 1996, doesn't the island still exist? But he said, what if you moved the island back to 1996, and through a war it was obliterated in 2003? In that case, the helicopter (which is in 2004) would watch it vanish, because technically, it no longer exists in 2003. Things that make you go hmm....

Do I want to watch the islanders re-enact season 1? No. But I don't think the writers do, either, and instead will just touch on certain things. The do-overs we see in the preview all apply to Locke: wouldn't it be nice to redo the Beechcraft scene and NOT kill someone? Or what about redoing the hatch scene? Maybe it could play out differently this time and someone would keep pressing the button? We also get a shot of Locke lying on his back and looking up at something. Could it be a repeat of the smoke monster scene? Would it be the one in "Walkabout" where he "looks into the eye of the island and what he saw was beautiful," or the "Exodus" scene where the monster grabbed him by the leg and dragged him down a hole?

Meanwhile, off the island, Aaron has gotten a little bigger (and finally gets a line), Kate seems to have been won over to the "Hey, let's go back" camp, Hurley's running around and brandishing a gun (still wearing his outfit from the institution, which makes me think when Sayid came to break him out they didn't just walk out the front door, and instead we'll watch some craziness happen on their way out). Sun is being detained in a room -- where, at the airport? In Korea? Why is she locked in a room? Jack shaved the beard (YES!); Sayid's beating the snot out of someone.

Daniel is wearing a yellow space suit and walking through caves... could he have entered the Swan station if they've moved the island back in time (therefore the station is once again intact) and he's going to find out the real source of the electromagnetic energy? I guess this answers our question about whether Dan got sucked into the island being moved or if he was going to be left floating in the water with a bunch of background characters.

What are your thoughts?

The Hobbit Returns!

Well, not to Lost... yet. But Dominic Monaghan is coming to CHUCK!! (WOOT!) where he will play an English rock star who is being chased by bad guys and, uh... man, I know this from somewhere, but I can't put my finger on it. Hm... Anyway, here's the piece here, where Monaghan says although he hasn't really watched Lost since he left (???) he would love to come back and reprise his role of Chah-lee in a flashforward.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lost Season 5 Promo!

I've been waiting for this!! After pulling 15-hour writing days for the last three weeks, I finally wrote the final bits of the season 4 episode guide today (thank you, thank you, bow, bow) and as a reward, ABC has released the official promo for season 5, complete with a few quick shots of what we can expect. WHEE!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This is a Strange Library....

It's time for more literal video! I previously posted the a-ha literal video for "Take on Me," which I said was one of my fave videos of all time. The video for Tears for Fears' "Head Over Heels," on the other hand, has always been one that made me go, "Huh?!" I remember thinking this was an awesome song in the 80s, marred by a completely stupid video.

But now I love the video. Only when it's done to these words. Thanks to christemple and fb for the link.

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Own Worst Enemy a Keeper

"Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I am a split personality
And so am I."

So recites Henry Spivey when he discovers that he is, in fact, the dormant part of the brain of Edward, a super-spy. Both are played by Christian Slater in NBC's intriguing new show, "My Own Worst Enemy." I checked this one out on a short break I took from writing this week because it had Slater in it, a mainstay of some of my favourite 80s films. People were surprised he was moving to television, despite the fact he hasn't had a juicy movie role in a dog's age. But Slater has proved he's still got it: The entire show hinges on his performance, and he pulls it off brilliantly.

The second episode airs tonight, and I urge you to watch it just to take in what a fine actor he is in a very challenging role. The first episode opened with Edward, super-spy, jetting around the world with his stash of Uzis and taking out the bad guys like an American James Bond. He's got the trademark Slater sneer that comes off as a sleazy Jack Nicholson. He's a womanizer and a cad, and he gets the job done without any emotional ties. He returns to his home base where he steps into an elevator, goes over his "story" with his boss (that he was actually at a sales conference in Omaha) and they effectively put the Edward side of his brain to sleep and awaken Henry Spivey, office drone who has a happy life with a wife and two kids. The problem is, Henry is starting to feel funny and is seeing what Edward is doing as a dream. He's seeing a therapist and telling her he had a dream he was in France, and lo and behold woke up and there was a matchbook of French matches from the hotel in his pocket.

Things get worse when Edward is on the job, pointing a gun at the bad guys when poof, he turns off and Henry comes on, unaware of where he is, holding a gun, and freaking out. He runs, but is caught by the guys who have known Edward for years and see him as an evil badass with no weaknesses. Henry insists he's Henry and doesn't know who they are when suddenly a man runs in, extracts Henry, and takes the briefcase with him. In the car the man removes his mask and Henry recognizes him as Tom, fellow office drone. But he's not: he's Raymond, one of Edward's co-workers and clearly also someone with a split personality. Back at the headquarters, Mavis (played by the stunning Alfre Woodard: I LOVE HER) explains that despite what we at home might think, Edward is actually the real person, and he decided years ago to have Henry inserted into his brain, under the auspices of, "The only way I can prove I have free will is if someone takes it away," which is weird, and actually the only downside to the premiere. Who would actively do this to themselves? In other words, Henry was created and doesn't have the life he thought he did.

She puts Henry into Edward's personal apartment, which is decked out and fancy and has a wicked Ford Mustang (product placement!) in the garage below, and Henry wanders around, completely freaked out. Henry discovers in Edward's personal effects that he was in the army and was awarded medals of high honor, that his parents died when he was very young, and baby pictures of Edward. He decides to go on a joyride in Edward's car, but halfway through his ride he turns back into Edward. He decides to go to Henry's house and sleep with "his" wife, but wakes up the next morning as Henry (who is FURIOUS when he realizes the other guy -- who is in fact still him -- slept with his wife). He goes back to the office, things switch around on him again, and Mavis and her gang brainwash him to remove all memories of what has happened and return the two men to their separate lives.

Henry goes back to his house, gets a phone call, tells his wife he can't make it to soccer practice that night, and the doorbell rings. It's the two baddies from the Russian job gone wrong, and they beat him and he says he's not Edward, he's Henry, and they say but you don't know us? He says no, but of course, Henry met them a few days earlier. They say they want to know where Edward hid their briefcase and if he doesn't find it quickly, they'll kill his family. Henry goes out to the SUV, finds a GPS with a previous location on it, and heads out to the desert. He uncovers the briefcase and says Edward must have used that GPS, and it's got what they want in it. They hold up a gun to kill Henry, who pulls the GPS out of his back pocket and hits a button, detonating the case and killing them. HUH?

Turns out, he really was Henry, but when he'd been brainwashed he turned back into Edward, and the brainwashing hadn't worked. He had retained the memories, and sent a DVD to Henry telling him about the GPS and what he needed to do, and Henry carried out the mission. Henry gets home and records his own message for Edward, telling him he can't believe he's talking to himself, and feels weird he'll never get to meet him.

The best part of this episode is at the end, where we see Christian Slater as Edward watching Christian Slater as Henry. Henry is jittery and talks fast and is unsure of himself, and Edward is suave and cool. Slater exudes that with Edward, yet all he does is stand there watching the video, and it's only in his eyes that we know it's absolutely Edward. Slater manages to pull off this character by separating the two distinctly enough -- yet subtly, because neither one is over the top -- that we always know who is who.

I can't wait for this week's episode. Check it out!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sarah Sings...

So, first she's actually funny on SNL, and now she's like a beat poet. Looks like she had a bunch of things to choose from for the beauty pageant talent competition!!

Seriously, this is inspired... (thanks to Jonathan for the link!)

How NOT to Have a Baby Shower

I haven't blogged much on The Office this season, mostly because I simply don't have time. But the first two episodes, while having their funny moments, just seemed to be missing something. You could look back and think, "Oh yeah, and when they did that, it was funny, or when they said this, it was funny," but on the whole, it didn't leave me with that feeling of hilarity that I like to have after watching The Office.

This week's episode, on the other hand, was classic Office BRILLIANCE. The opening was WAY over-the-top, more OTT than usual, with Dwight carrying a watermelon around in an apron and pretending to be Jan going into labour to help Michael practice. It would be one thing if they were doing this in Michael's home, but it's happening in the office, complete with Dwight lying back on Michael's desk with his feet in the air, screaming. The great thing about The Office is that every weird moment has a kernel of truth, and I just didn't buy this. However, this scene is worth it for Jim's flow chart: "Jan is having a baby with a sperm donor. And Michael is preparing for the birth of a watermelon with Dwight. Now, this baby will be related to Michael through... delusion." Also, watch Phyllis's face when Dwight is about to "give birth." She drops her head and you can see her killing herself laughing. Also, the watermelon flying out and Michael dropping it, with it smashing all over the floor. AWESOME.

One other lowlight: Dwight testing the destructibility of the stroller: that seems a bit too insane even for Dwight.

The episode gets much better from there. Highlights:

Dwight: "Babies are one of my many areas of expertise. Growing up I performed my own circumcision."

The M&Ms bowls filled with M&Ms emblazoned with the baby names, with the boy baby bowl being Chevy, and the girl baby bowl being Astird (pronounced Ass-turd). Phyllis: "That can't be right."

Michael: "If I'm not mistaken, we gave you your wedding shower here. We came into this room and gave you a golden shower. Where is my golden shower?"

Andy screwing up which baby photo is Angela's photo.

Stanley: "I do not like pregnant women in my workspace. They're always complaining. I have varicose veins, too. I have swollen ankles, I'm constantly hungry. Do you think my nipples don't get sore, too? Do you think I don't need to know the fastest way to the hospital?"

Dwight insisting Michael mark the baby with a Sharpie, and freaking when he discovers Jan already had it. "Now the baby could be anybody's... except Michael's."

Michael holding the baby aloft like the Lion King.

Greatest moment of the episode: Jan describing having a tub birth.
Kelly: Uh, so you're in the tub with everything?
Jan: Oh yeah, the afterbirth floats.
Creed: Must be like the tide at Omaha Beach.

(My husband and I immediately paused it and were both laughing so hard we couldn't breathe... then backed it up three times. Best Creed line EVER.)

Michael going to get advice from Darryl, and constantly referring to him as a "babydaddy." (Again, you can see the actor playing Darryl trying not to laugh through the scene, especially when Michael calls the baby a "babybaby.")

Jan realizing that Holly has the same sense of humour as Michael.

Angela trying to get an Anne Geddes picture of the baby by putting it in the fruit. HAHA!!

Michael hugging Holly and asking her out. I love that he didn't kiss her, and instead gave her a long and sort of awkward hug.

The similar phone messages that Jim and Pam leave for each other... aww....

Will the Real Sarah Palin Please Stand Up?

Brilliant. Sarah Palin might win more votes through this appearance than anything else she's done on the campaign trail. (Let's hope that doesn't happen.)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Some Lost Fun!

Maybe I'm just getting tired. Or maybe my days have been too long (it's currently 10:37pm and I've been writing non-stop since 8:15 this morning). But these videos just made me laugh so hard I had tears in my eyes. These two guys use the Lost action figures to act out fake scenes that have crossovers with other movies. But my poor beloved Hurley has somehow become the Kenny in all of them. Oh well, he'd probably think they were pretty funny. :) The Sawyer nickname kills me every time, and I LOVE the Jin doll. Okay, and Chah-lee is pretty hilarious, too. And the disheveled holier-than-thou Jack is spot-on. Come on, McFarlane! Let's get a Desmond doll!

Your Friday Smile

Another season 4 alternate ending! HA!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Finding Lost Season 4 Available for Pre-Order has posted my book for preorder (though there's no cover as of yet... the cover has been sent to them, but it always takes dog's years for them to actually make changes, as many of you know firsthand). I was just speaking with my publisher today about the book. While it's being listed as an April release, we're going to see if we can get it out earlier than that, and while big-box stores won't release a book until the date we have in the catalogue (it's a long, complicated, and annoying story, so I won't bore you with the whys), the smaller independents will take it. typically makes the books available as soon as they receive them in their warehouse, so it will probably be the place you can get it. Or... I'll have copies and you can get them directly from me. :)

So if you're looking to pre-order the book from Amazon, please do so using the link at the side (or just click here) and I get click-through points. I know. I'm shameless. But as I sit here plugging away on Day 10 of my captivity, wondering what it's all worth in the end, I'm looking to, um, make it worth something in the end.

Now, if I can just convince the writers to stick a copy of one of my books on Ben's bookshelf, I would be SET.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Photo of the Day

How much do I love Joss's tortured auteur look in this photo?! Brilliant.


Today is election day in Canada, so please vote. Let your voice be heard. We have five parties in Canada (four outside of Quebec) and that's a lot of platforms to be informed of, but you can check out their websites easily, skim the information, and find out what their policies will be. I'm not going to tell you how to vote, but here are some helpful websites:

Vote for Environment
Anything but Conservative

OK, yes, I'm being a little tongue-in-cheek. I just spent the weekend with my card-carrying Conservative in-laws as they sat around spouting rhetoric that was so unbelievable I can't even begin to print it here, and it only solidified my desire to vote the way I will be. And by the way, I did a lot of research. I'm not someone who's ever voted along party lines, and I tend to switch to the party whose platform most suits me at the time, and I've read all the platforms and know which way I'm going. (That said, there is one party I never vote for...)

But even if you do vote Conservative, it's better than not voting at all. People have fought for our right to democracy, for men and women to go out there and effect change, and to disrespect that hard-won battle by shrugging and flipping on the TV to see how other people will affect your nation is just laziness. (It's beyond laziness, actually, but I'm trying to be nice.) I remember one year someone I know who is a lot younger than I am sent out an email to all her friends after the election to say how upset she was with the party in power, and boasted that she hadn't bothered to vote, which gives her the right to complain about that party because she didn't vote for them. I respectfully wrote her back and said actually, if you do nothing to get that party OUT of power, you're just as responsible for them being in power as the person who voted for them.

If you don't vote, you can't complain about the government, about your taxes, about your health care, about anything in this country because you did nothing to change it.

So go on out and vote. If for no other reason than to enjoy guilt-free bitching for the next few years.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Writer's Block Diaries

I’m currently taking three weeks off work to hole up in my office and write full-time on the Lost season 4 book. For everyone emailing me asking why I’m not writing more on Heroes or Fringe or anything else on television, my simple explanation is: because I haven’t watched the new episodes yet. I have about 3 weeks of Fringe and 2 of Heroes on my PVR right now, along with a million other shows. When this book is done, I’ll be doing a TV-viewing marathon unlike any other.

So now, in the vein of Homer Simpson (who left Marge once to live in the treehouse outside, only to have a 3-week beard, ragged clothes, and a rope belt after about 12 hours), I shall detail my shockingly fast descent into madness.

It is now Day 8 of my captivity. I’m not sure if the walls around me just feel like they’re closing in, or if my publisher has some switch like in the garbage compactor in Star Wars where he can actually make them move. Hm. My money’s on the former. (I think?) I have finished four episodes, two intermission chapters, and a sidebar. I look outside my window and I swear I see palm trees. Was that Desmond walking by? Just a minute... I’ll be right back...

No. It wasn’t Desmond. It was just a harried postal worker, now more harried since I ran up to him declaring my undying love and telling him I was better than Penny any day.

Now I’m on “The Shape of Things to Come” and I’ve fallen behind. There’s so much to say about this episode I’m worried I’ll either say too much or too little. My schedule is written out down to the hour (stupid One-Week-Ago-Me) and now I’m stressed because I’m not right on it still. Dammit. As of Thursday, I was still totally on schedule. Now... not.

I was allowed out of my prison yesterday to partake in a bird these islanders call a “turkey” and one of the sentries referred to “Thanksgiving.” It’s apparently some sort of celebration of the conquest of the Others or something. The bird was quite yummy. But then I fell asleep. I believe they drugged it with some Dharma chemicals.

My eyes are bugging out of my head. I barely recognize my children. I answer only to the names Kate or Juliet, depending on my mood or what episode I’m working on.

I’m afraid I shall go mad. If I haven’t already.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Goodbye, My Beloved Penguin

I've been meaning to blog on this all week, but frankly, it's just really difficult. I'm about to lose someone very dear to me, and it's really shaken me up. I've been reading about his impending death in the past few weeks, and only found out a few days ago that he will be dying very soon, and it's rendered me speechless.

And just because he's a cartoon penguin doesn't make this any less serious.

Yes, folks, after almost three decades, Opus the Penguin will be laid to rest by his cartoon creator, Berke Breathed. I grew up on Bloom County. It was like Doonesbury, but with more pop culture and less politics. (I was 11 when I started reading the comic, and because I wasn't Alex P. Keaton, I wasn't about to read a strip that was overly political.) I've been by Opus's side when he was first brought home by accident by Binkley, who thought he was adopting a German shepherd. The penguin was meant to be part of a one-off arc, but fans LOVED him and his bad English skills (remember the Hari Krishna whom Opus called Hairy Fishnuts?) and he stayed, eventually becoming the star of the series. With Bill the Cat, the drunken, stoned feline who rarely said anything other than "Ack!", Opus became a pop culture icon.

I think my favourite of the books was Billy and the Boingers, when Opus and company decide to form a metal band called Deathtöngue:

Steve Dallas was the manager (he wanted a job where he wouldn't have to wear a tie and would get lots of sex), Opus was the tuba player, Bill the drunken lead singer, and Hodge-Podge the drummer. Steve Dallas's open audition was posted on a tree, and read: "Tomorrow: Open Audition for new high-profit heavy-metal rock band. Need to know 3 chords and be able to grimace musically." Rosebud the Basselope attempts to audition, but sings "The Sounds of Silence." When Steve tells him that's not the sound they're looking for, he offers to throw in some lewd gestures, but it's not enough to get him the gig. The stuff is still hilarious 20 years on (and the back cover of the book has the four of them posing as U2 on the Joshua Tree album; BRILLIANT). The band eventually realized their name wasn't any good, and changed it to the much improved Billy and the Boingers.

The book came with one of those little flexi-disks, and I still remember listening to it (oh MAN I still HAVE it! I just checked the book!) and their big single was "U Stink But I ♥ U" (I loved the Prince-type spelling). The chorus went like this:
You make me sick! (way-oh, way-oh, way-oh)
You make me sick!
You really stink, girl,
You make me sick! (way-oh, way-oh, way-oh)
You make me sick (tuba solo)
But I love you.

I'm typing that totally from memory. Glad to see I used my memory for the important things.

I just found a site that has the MP3s of that song and the other one, "I'm a Boinger." Check them out if you want to hear the silliness.

Anyway, after Bloom County ended (and I finally dried my tears), Berke Breathed came out with a new, surreal comic called Outland. Inevitably, Opus appeared in that one and his adventures began anew. And then that came to an end, along with Opus. Again. And then... in 2003, Berke Breathed released "Opus," as its own comic. I read it on, but it's available at other online sites. Every Sunday a new one is posted, and I go and check it out. Steve has a bad receding hairline with grey streaks over his ears, and Opus has become more philosophical in his old age.

A couple of weeks ago, Opus decided to hop on a plane and accidentally mentioned that he'd smuggled himself into the country 30 years ago. Despite waving a tiny American flag while running madly through the airport screaming, "I love George Bush!" he was thrown into a holding cell at Homeland Security (and called Akbar) and tortured before they stuck him in an animal shelter, where he is currently holed up with a tiny puppy who wants to hear his life story. So, Opus has been telling it, and it's wonderful to read the recaps of the high points of his life, from Billy and the Boingers to the time he fought Mary Kay Cosmetics to his undying love for Diane Sawyer... and he occasionally adds in jokes about a tryst with Sarah Palin (they'd shoot moose together). But there was something strange and final about these comics, and I started to get a bad feeling about where it was going. Sure enough, earlier this week Berke Breathed announced that was it, and he was finally putting Opus to rest once and for all on November 2. He says the current political climate has just gotten too dark, and he's so angry he's worried it will start permeating the comics, and he doesn't want to destroy Opus like that. So he's going to let the penguin go gently into that good night, and let us have our memories of him.

So go check him out at Salon. This is the comic that made me start feeling uncomfortable that something bad was about to happen to him, yet at the same time I loved seeing all the old memories again. Here is the complete Opus archive at Salon, from most recent to older. Get to know the penguin before he's gone. As for me, I shall hug my stuffed Opus a little tighter, keep my comic books a little closer, and hope Breathed gives him a good send-off.

Good-bye, Opus. May your penguin dreams come true, may your wish for wings that work actually happen, and may Diane Sawyer finally come around and run off to Antarctica with you.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I'm Gonna Kick Some Ass With My Own Pipe Wrench

This is one of my favourite videos of all time. Now it's been resung so the words actually narrate the video. Freakin' brilliant.

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts...


That music, that school, that coach, that... Riggins. Mmmmmmm.... Friday Night Lights is back, folks. Yes, I know, I've nattered at you incessantly to watch this show (WATCH THIS SHOW). On the surface, it's about the phenomenon of high school football in the southern U.S., with stadiums being filled every Friday night and boys being prepped at a young age to peak at the age of 18 and spend the rest of their lives reminiscing about who they used to be. But on a deeper level it's about relationships, family, friends, and angst, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It's had a rough road: the brilliant, brilliant, brilliant season 1 had low to moderate ratings, followed by a shortened season 2 that almost didn't make it on the air. Then the already troubled show was hit by the Writer's Strike and it looked like it would be cancelled, right when it was at a very crucial point in the story. But NBC (unlike the dastardly FOX), knew it had a devout following that loved this show, and to be honest, they really liked the show, too. (Oh Joss, please find a home at NBC soon...) So they began fishing around for ways to save it, and came up with the idea to join forces with the fledgling DirectTV network, where DirectTV would pony up some cash to help produce the show, and they'd get first rights on the show to air it in the fall, followed by NBC picking up the episodes in the spring and re-airing them to the general public who doesn't have access to the smaller service.

The first episode was last week, and it was SO amazing to see it again. I won't post any spoilers here, because I'm assuming the majority of readers don't have access to DirectTV and will be waiting for the NBC eps, but I'm simply posting to urge you to tune in in the spring, and to plead with those who STILL AREN'T LISTENING TO ME to listen to me. Get season 1 (it's cheap!) and season 2 is even cheaper because it's a small set. If you want high drama, characters who make you feel like you actually know them, and situations that will tear your heart out, this is the show for you. This season promises a rebirth for Smash, a new twist on Riggins, a surprising new placement for Tami, a continuation of the awesomeness that is Coach Taylor, and a new purpose for Tara. And there's a possibility we're going to see Saracen descend into some emotional depths he might not be able to come back from.

I love this show. Here's hoping the new idea works, and they can actually manage to hold on for a full-season order and another season beyond that.

Clear eyes, full hearts, CAN'T LOSE!!!!!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Tina Fey Does it Again!

And not only does she nail Palin in that debate, but all of Joe Biden's foibles are portrayed beautifully in this as well (I loved the bit about him taking a bullet for McCain... who is clinically insane). LOL! Now why can't the rest of the program be this funny?!

UPDATE: I just found this Letterman tribute to Sarah Palin. It's completely unfair and out of context, yet, somehow... true. :) Take it away, Letterman!

And finally, for those Canadians among you who are also following our own election (yes, we have one, too, but it's a matter of weeks unlike the American one, which seems to take about 2 years), check out the latest Rick Mercer spoof, care of my pal Jeremy's blog. It's BRILLIANT.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Fall 2007 TV Season... in Fall 2008

As I mentioned a few days ago, I was excited because this week marked the return of my favourite shows of last season. It's a shame the Writer's Strike happened when it did, because fall 2007 probably boasted my favourite crop of new shows... ever. Pushing Daisies is, well, you all know how I feel about that show, and I won't start gushing again. (GLORIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Chuck is about as close to perfect as a show can get for a TV geek -- it's got the spy element, the family element, the nerd quotient, and it's funny and well written. The cast is superb. The return of Chuck this week was great... we got the background told to us as part of the narrative when the show opened with Michael Clarke Duncan holding Chuck out over a ledge and Chuck had to quickly tell him who he was. Pushing Daisies, as I mentioned, also gave an extremely long recap just to bring people in who may have missed it the first time around. Besides, for these shows, which barely picked up (if at all) after the writer's strike, they need to give audiences big reminders of what happened, because there's a possibility it's been almost a year since we've been watching.

Chuck's return was a lot of fun... on the one hand we saw how being the Intersect has weighed heavily on him, much like what being the Slayer was to Buffy. He begins to imagine his life NOT being the Intersect and he's so happy. But I loved the little moments we saw that were outside of the plot of the show, especially his co-workers. From the Thunderdome decision of who would be the store's assistant manager, to the resume that Chuck reads that's on the napkin written in red (if you didn't pause your television to read it, it said that he's been working at the store forever and knows where all the bodies are buried, and then on the other side of the napkin it says that he's been hiding under things and taking photos of everyone's feet. It was PRICELESS), to Morgan saying he's challenged Paul to eat 90 Twinkies and Chuck and Casey both running to the back room eager to see Paul's stomach explode... it was classic.

Dirty Sexy Money is another show I watched last year as a guilty pleasure (though I feel no guilt in watching it). I've said it before, it's like an adult version of Gossip Girl. They somehow manage to get a lot of cheese and melodrama and over-the-top ideas in there, but they make it believable. Sort of. They even have a transgendered character, played by a female impersonator, who is probably the smartest and classiest character on the show. They could have taken the easy route and turned her into a laughing stock, but she never becomes that. What was interesting, however, is the return episode had NO previously on stuff, so we were launched right back where we left off. I wasn't thrilled with how they handled Patrick's wife's death at all... talk about a family trying to knock off the daughter-in-law because she's being a pain. Yeah, she's an alcoholic and a family embarrassment, but she's also the mother of their grandchildren, which apparently means zilch in this family. Jeremy is always adorable, despite being a train wreck, and while a lot of this first episode was a little clunky, it was still fun to be back with the Darling family. I couldn't figure out why Juliet, Jeremy's twin sister, was missing, but a quick google search showed she's been removed from the regular cast, with most speculation suggesting it's because of a rehab stint she did last year.

Life is not a show I really liked a lot, but I know it's a critical darling and many of my readers enjoy it. My husband is a big fan, and he thought it was a great return to the show, so there's a fourth fine show from last season.

And yet... the numbers were not what people wanted to hear. Pushing Daisies got fewer viewers for this premiere episode than for any episode last year. Chuck Bartowski's following has similarly dwindled. While Dirty Sexy Money's numbers were slightly higher than its finale last year, it was way down from its initial premiere.

Since this season so far hasn't boasted a breakout beyond Fringe (which I was happy to see has gotten its full-season order, WOOHOO!), if these shows end up getting cancelled, we're stuck with a lot of dreck. Let's hope because of the lack of other options, the execs will stick with these shows a little bit longer.

And if you're reading this and not watching them, check them out! Get them on your PVR and rent or buy the first seasons and check them out.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Nucular Disaster

I just saw this T-shirt. You can order it on a shirt, hoodie, mug, you name it, here.

Here's another great one:

And finally, one I think I might get:

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Sarah Palin Drinking Game!

I wish I could have created a drinking game for the vice-presidential speech tonight. But I was stunned at how many times Sarah said the following things. If you really were playing a drinking game, you'd be as trashed as Palin's future son-in-law in the first 10 minutes if you were taking a drink every time she said one of the following:

"Darn it!"
"Up there in Alaska..."
"Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac"
"I love America!"

-said something folksy: "I don't know what the fancy folks in Washington think, but darn it, up there in Alaska where I'm a maverick..."
-grinned like the Cheshire Cat into the camera as Biden was speaking
-referred to hockey moms, soccer moms, or Joe Six-Pack

I think one of my favourite moments was when she said, "Say it ain't so, Joe, you're bringing up the past, doggone it!" Hahaha!

Was she terrible? No, she wasn't. She avoided most of the big questions, kept diverting things back to the damn energy stuff so she could mention her energy-rich state over and over, and the only times she was called out on not answering a question she said, "I may not answer the questions the way you guys want me to, but I’m gonna talk straight to the American people!!" But I think she was prepped well, looked straight into the camera to "the American people" watching at home. She certainly had a loose handle on the facts... but I expected nothing less.

The only times I ever got really angry was when she acted all shocked and frustrated that Biden was bringing up policies and track records of the Bush Administration. John McCain has been a FUNDAMENTAL backbone of the Bush Administration, he is a powerful and vocal member of a party that has had a disastrous run. But of course, she had to deflect those questions to try to trick the American people into believing that McCain is some sort of non-partisan candidate who actually challenges his party.

This debate didn't seem to change the game at all, but it was still interesting to watch. I think Palin held her own, I think Biden did an excellent job once he got going (and began looking into the camera more), and I think both of them really backed their candidates. Did it change anyone's mind? No. If for some ungodly reason you thought Palin was qualified before this debate, you probably still think the same, and if you thought she was unfit, you still do.

When the moderator asked about the problem with nuclear weaponry in Pakistan, I turned to my husband and said, "Twenty bucks says she pronounces it nuke-you-lar" and he took the bet.

Silly, silly man...

I've gotta go collect my money now.

Pushing Daisies: GLORIOUS!

I don't know what it is about Pushing Daisies, but it fills me with a feeling of pure, unadulterated joy that no other program has ever given me. Not Buffy (sorry), not Lost (really sorry), not anything. Both those shows were ones where I was on the edge of my seat week after week, barely unable to contain my excitement at what the week would bring. I would watch them, then immediately watch again for anything in the background that I might have missed the first time. (And in the case of Lost, again... and again... and again... frak, I missed that? Again... and again...)

But Pushing Daisies is a show where I immediately start it over just to be filled with the warm fuzzies again. I'm never looking in the background, I simply want to enjoy the beauty of this unique and amazing show all over again.

The first season was only 9 episodes, but they were 9 sublime, perfect episodes. (I was talking to my friend Crissy today and said I've decided I'm going to buy the DVDs after all, just to watch them over and over again... I buy EVERY show on DVD, but I watch it one more time and that's it. Unless I'm writing on it.) I worried they might have changed the formula or switched things up for season 2.

Luckily, they didn't change A THING.

The episode opened with probably a 7-minute rundown of season 1, summed up so perfectly you wouldn't even have to watch season 1 in order to watch season 2 (but oh, you must, because it's just THAT good). Those colours... those clothes... that music-box music... that wonderful, WONDERFUL voice of the narrator. When he brought us up to date on the life of Ned and Chuck and then said Ned went on to become (camera moving down a street, zeroing in on the Pie Hole, flying through the doors and moving in on a close-up of Ned standing with arms crossed in front of him) "The Pie-Makah" I squeeeeeeed. Right out loud, just SQUEEEED. I was SO happy. And then when we found out a woman died, and it suddenly zipped into her life story and the narrator said, "The facts were these," I did it again. I LOVE THAT VOICE. I want him to sit by my bed and tell me bedtime stories to put me to sleep every night.

I watch this show with a stupid grin on my face the whole time. I swear my heart beats faster. That silly grin on Chuck's face most of the time? That's me watching the show. When Olive was spinning on the mountaintop like Maria in The Sound of Music, I was bellowing with laughter. When Emerson was playing with his "Li'l Gumshoe" pop-up book, my hands were clasped before me in pure joy. When the two aunts showed up at the Pie Hole, I gasped in horror. My reactions to what happen on the show are as over-the-top and melodramatic as the show itself. I swear one of these days I'm going to slap the back of my hand to my forehead and fall to the ground.

And when French Stewart guest-starred, I wondered if this may be the greatest program of all time. (Did anyone else watch Third Rock from the Sun JUST for him? I LOVE HIM.) Sure, the crime didn't make a lot of sense and they never really explained how he encased himself in bees or did the whole queen bee thing, but that didn't matter... the crime rarely matters in this show, it's just a quirky, weird thing that's added. It's the magnificent set design, the bright colours, the adorable little dresses Chuck wears (how awesome was her old-fashioned lingerie??), the music...

I think it might actually be the fact it all looks like a storybook from childhood, told by a grandfatherly voice with the children's music playing in the background. Maybe there's some subconcious return to the innocence of our youth that we fall into, completely unknowingly, and for one hour, all the troubles and stresses of our lives just fall away. I don't know what it is, but I feel like Chuck's aunts after they eat her herbally-enhanced pie: I'm so incredibly happy, and I have no idea why, and I don't care.

Pushing Daisies is magical. Please check it out if you haven't already. Don't make me gush to no avail.

Tonight's Must-See TV!!

Well, folks, Thursday night funnies (i.e. The Office, My Name Is Earl, etc.) are being pre-empted, but I can assure you they're being replaced by something that is WAY funnier: the vice-presidential debate! Never before in history has a televised debate between two VPs been more anticipated than this one. The last time Joe Biden was involved in a major debate, he screwed up his finish so badly he ended up dropping out of the race. And whenever Sarah Palin opens her mouth, her entire staff or handlers cringe in the corner, praying to God that He will help her shut her mouth and actually answer ONE question openly and honestly.

I think in the last few weeks it's been made extremely clear that Palin is absolutely unfit for this job. Republicans are angrily telling critics to back off, and saying Sarah is a fast learner. Uh... being next in line to the most powerful office in the world is NOT the place for on-the-job training. Tell her she's anti-feminist because she wants to take away a woman's right to choose what to do with her own body, and she'll tell you that YOU are anti-feminist and are coming down on her because she's a woman. Criticize her for having nary a clue about foreign policy, and she'll tell you that while you have to read a paper to find out what's going on over there, she just needs a pair of binoculars. Ask her about health care, and she'll tell a funny anecdote about Fred from Anchorage who once went into the hospital for gangrene and it turns out he'd just gotten green lint on his toes from his socks. Ha! Ha!... ha. Ask her if she can name a single newspaper or magazine where she gets her news from, and she'll say you're just part of the Washington elite.

Seriously. Check out this YouTube clip where Katie Couric asks her to name ONE newspaper in the world.

Note the trademark deflection, the waving of the hands, the generalization, the changing of the topic, and turning it around on Couric by making her look like she's anti-Alaskan? Don't ever accuse Sarah Palin of being an idiot: When it comes to making herself look like she has a clue when she doesn't, she's a genius. Republicans would say Katie Couric was lobbing a hard-nosed question at her and then quote some softball question she'd given Joe Biden. Give me a break. There's GOT to be a point when Republicans just take off those damn hypocrite hats and wake up and say sorry, Sarah, you've gotta go.

I initially said to friends, "If I were Joe Biden, I'd just sleep in until 5 minutes before the debate." But Biden's smarter than that. You can't underestimate a person who can win over Americans by being cute, waving a flag, and dodging every question. After all, she made it to Alaskan governor by doing the exact same thing.

One of her biggest rivals is Andrew Halcro, who debated her for the Alaskan governorship. He said often she'd be up there rambling on about something that had absolutely nothing to do with the question, and while the other candidates came to the table armed with real data and research, she had nothing more than a handy anecdote, a quick quip (what's the difference between a pitbull and a hockey mom) and a biting comment about her rivals. They'd roll their eyes, only to look out at the room and see she'd entirely enraptured her audience.

Here's CNN's fact-check of her acceptance speech:

In tonight's debate, Sarah will make several gaffes (one can hope), possibly have the home audience in stitches (one can pray), but will undoubtedly have FOX News claiming that she'd hit that one out of the park, and quote from her endlessly. Middle Americans will wave their flags proudly and pat themselves on the back for allowing a woman to come *this close* to the White House. Jon Stewart will have fodder for MONTHS.

But Joe Biden has to lay off, and I'm thinking that will be his strategy. He can out-answer her on every single point, but he'll be best served not showing her up, not actually quoting facts (Republicans will say he's being mean to poor widdle Sarah if he does that), not coming down on her stance on abortion (Republicans will criticize a man for taking a stance on a woman's body, despite the fact McCain and Bush do the same thing... that's DIFFERENT, people!). So far, Biden's been able to stay pretty quiet in the campaign while loud-mouthed Sarah's been out there -- "ALASKA!!" -- digging her own little grave while McCain support dwindles. He probably needs to do pretty much the same thing. Let her stand there and make a fool of herself, or let her stand there and talk about Alaska and health care and newspapers and Russia and NATO in the most general of terms so she can trick people into thinking she actually knows something, and then give it a couple of days for the world to actually look at the transcripts, realize she didn't answer a single question, and her handlers can clean up her mess.

But knowing her, they won't be able to. One thing is for sure: Tina Fey will be watching, and I cannot WAIT to see her reenacting the debate on SNL. Remember: Joe Biden made a mistake in a campaign once and stepped down so it wouldn't hurt his party. While Republicans are quoting this gaffe endlessly (in an effort to pin ANYTHING on Biden at this point) what that showed is that he put his party first. I'm not sure Sarah would ever step down, because she wants in there so badly.

Matt Damon said it best when he said this is all like some crazy Disney fantasy movie, where a hockey mom from Alaska suddenly finds herself in the White House by accident, and begins winning over politicians and voters with her folksy charm and wisdom.

The problem is, the Disney movie isn't real. And it comes to an end. If the Republicans actually win this one, we're all doomed.