Its Raining – It Must Be The Weekend!

Here we go again. The weekend weather is falling into a pattern that is dangerously close to becoming a trend. I remember a few years back when the same thing happened. It was so depressing.

Anyhow, lots of fun stuff to do; taxes, painting, replacing old baseboards, renewing my licence sticker, etc. Yep should be a fun weekend.

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Friday Ramblings….

A bad word whispered will echo a thousand miles.

Its been a pretty dismal couple of weeks weather-wise. Lots of rainy, grey days with the same forecast for this weekend. And its been pretty damn cold as well. Just above freezing this morning which had the car dressed up in a sparkling negligee of frost.

Looking forward to seeing Hitchhiker’s Guide next week. Finishing off reading Bryan Smith’s House of Blood and it has been a great read, light and entertaining. Pounding away on a couple of short stories and a novel idea is still percolating in my hindbrain. I need, and want, to finish a couple of short stories from an accomplishment point of view before tackling a novel. To that end, I have decided to leave for work a bit earlier and have an uninterrupted hour of writing time before starting the work day. Worked out well this morning as I managed to type ~ 400 words this morning. If I can do this on a consistent basis the words should pile up appropriately.

I also need to work on my next review for the Cemetary Dance weekly newsletter. It will be a comparison piece between Robert Wise’s and Jan De Bont’s cinematic versions of Shirley Jackson’s – The Haunting of Hill House.

Oh and have to finish and send off the tax returns by midnight Saturday. Yippee! Lots of fun.

There And Back Again…

Read in one sitting last night Sean Astin’s recount of his work as Samwise Gamgee on the Lord of the Rings movies.

If you are expecting a day by day recount capturing all the occurrences and minutiae that Astin experienced while making these movies prepare for disappointment. Instead you get a glimpse into the surreal world that people in the TV/filmmaking business live in. Despite his repeated statements that Astin understands the ludicrousness of the money being thrown around his actions speak otherwise. I found it sad and bemusing that Astin feels he is in touch with the common folk when it is apparent from his expectations that he is not. Buying a $750,000 house with no steady income does not speak of someone who has their feet firmly on the ground.

There are a few interesting tidbits doled out on the business side of things. I admit I was shocked to find that Astin was only paid $250,000 – look at me I am as bad as Astin now – for all THREE movies. I mean we are talking about a $300 Million dollar production that ended up bringing in around $3 Billion US dollars! Astounding. Unfortunately, he does not go into details about the other areas of his contract such as bonuses, etc so you never know how much he ended up making on the whole LOTR experience. I can only guess at how much some of the other cast members made – given that most of them were unknowns at the time.

On the people side of things he does not reveal much but he did confirm for me that the other hobbits were closer to one another than he was. Partly circumstances, he is ten years older than them and was the only one married on, which he recounts in the book and I agree with. I also believe, based on the tone of the book, that Astin is his own worst enemy. Astin has a high insecurity level and an immature need for constant recognition. He needs to learn to lighten up. He is frank with his family history and reveals the mental health problems his mother – Patty Duke suffers from. Is that an issue with him as well? Hard to say and again it is the environment he grew up in where mental stress is part of everyday life.

I went in wanting to learn more about the behind the scenes information about the making of the movies and instead came away with a glimpse into a mindset of people that really live in a different plane of existence much like rock stars and professional athletes.

A quick and interesting read.

ROTS?

There was footage shown at the latest SW celebration that has raised my hopes for Revenge of the Sith given my crushing disappointment with the first two.

If anyone reads this and is interested I can email the link to you – its a Windows Media file and a bit dark but shows enough impressive footage to get the juices flowing.

Almost finished reading Bryan Smith’s – House Of Blood. Its a fast paced, roller coaster ride of a story. Well written with some great characters. Bit of gore, bit of sex, and lots of action. Fun stuff.

Do The Hustle!

Saw Kung Fu Hustle last night. What a hoot. It lampoons, obviously, Kung Fu movies. It is liberally sprinkled with tongue in cheek jabs at fantasies, Steve Chow’s Shaolin Soccer, Superman I ie Marlon Brando in the clouds, and the Burley Brawl from the second Matrix movie – and does a better version of the Brawl as well. There is a very funny knife scene that literally had me in tears. Add in dashes of Keaton and Chaplin and the whole thing makes for fun night at the movies. It plays like a real life Looney Tunes.

If you have seen Chow’s Shaolin Soccer, this is the same vein. Unbelievable and over the top stunts that would make Bugs Bunny or Wile E. Coyote feel right at home.

Warning for those that can not stand it – this movie is running with subtitles. Not an issue for me and there really is not a lot of dialogue.

Last Night’s Enterprise Episode – Awesome!

That was a great episode – God it was exhilirating seeing all the TOS stuff again. What can I say – I grew watching the original series.

The Defiant looked great, the bridge was close – except for some of the overhead screens which looked too good, the velour shirt on the dead guy – red of course , and the original hand phaser – still the coolest hand weapon of any ST series.

Not an Enterprise fan but that was an awesome hour of ST!

Cannot wait for part two next week when we should get to see more of the Defiant in action.

Great Day Today

Went to the BakkaPhoenix SF bookstore in Toronto today. The store has moved back to its old neighbourhood on Queen Street West. To celebrate SF writer Robert J. Sawyer, a former employee, was chosen to do the celebrate the store opening and did a book signing for his latest novel Mindscan. The store was packed with appreciative fans and Robert gave a wonderful speech and a quick five minute excerpt reading of his book.

The man has all bases covered from promotion to public speaking. He radiates professionalism and confidence. As an added bonus another great writer – Robert Charles Wilson was present so I was able to get a signed copy of his latest book Spin as well.

Afterwards Rob and his wife Carolyn graciously went with a group of us and grabbed a bite to eat at a nearby pub. We all engaged in a couple of hours of free wheeling conversation and I enjoyed conversing with other folks that share the same reading interests.

A truly memorable day that I will not soon forget.