27 October 2007

The Nightmare Before Christmas 3-D (2007)

This movie's a classic, or so I'm told. I thought watching it in 3-D would be a life altering experience. Final verdict? Not so much. The novelty of 3-D was cool but afterwards I was told that most of it wasn't in 3-D anyway. I kept on hoping for more things to happen. And the songs need some help. Get Tim Rice on the phone. Still, the production design was awesome and I can see how this was pretty mind blowing in 1993. I prefer Wallace & Gromit.

25 October 2007

The Polysyllabic Spree

I'm sure not a lot of people know about this book, The Polysyllabic Spree (Complete Hardcover version), but if you love to read, this is a must buy. Nick Hornby (author of "High Fidelity," among other books) has a monthly column in The Believer magazine where he muses about books he's read that month. Sometimes the columns fling off into weird and wacky directions but for the most part, Hornby gives readers an inside look on how one (very literate) person goes through the world of books.

His columns always begin with a list of books bought and then a list of the books finished (sample). It's basically a book diary and a genuinely fabulous idea. I can't do enough justice to his column with such a brief review. Just go pick it up. Highly recommended.

22 October 2007

Home Is Burning

When we were in the fourth grade, our neighbor's house burned down. A thief was using the house as a base of operations while he looted the community. As the cops closed in, he set the house on fire as a diversionary tactic. For some reason, I had a crazy dream that night and made my dad come sleep with me in my room. A few hours later, he woke up with a start and thought it was our living room on fire. Later, he joked that he went immediately to rescue my mom because hey, you can always make more kids, but wives are once in a lifetime.

Yesterday, I glibbly suggested that the fires in Southern California were less scary than a flight of Raiders fans. Twenty four hours later, it's Fire 451 - Raiders' fans 0. Most of the people we know in San Diego are from Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Penasquitos, and Poway. Evacuation! Our old house is in that area but I think it's okay -- I notated our homes in little blue circles on the map.
It amazes me how much the Internet has changed the way we track disasters. I was right across the river during 9-11 so never really experienced something like this from the outside. Watching San Diego burn from up here in LA, it's frustrating the lack of information we have available. Then again, awesome people like Chris (whoever he is) whipped up stuff like this Google Maps / SD Fires mashup incredibly fast so he deserves some sort of medal.
The little church where we attended kindergarten burned down. That church is located a few dozen yards from Hong's house (Hotel Pan), which quite possibly might be the only house in his cul-de-sac that still stands. I hope the hang out of all hang outs is safe and standing proud.

The fire's headed toward Rancho Santa Fe and Del Mar. Guess where our other house is? Rancho Santa Fe and Del Mar. I'm hoping the friendly fire decides to skip our community. Strangely, I can't think of many things I'd go down there to save. Pictures, mementos, important papers, all that stuff of course. But aside from the obvious, what else is there?

Luckily my mom's in Taiwan. Hi Mom.

17 October 2007


I'm not sure how I missed this but the Sci-Fi channel is coming out with an original TV mini-series about the Wizard of Oz. Tin Man is an edgier version of the story we've all come to know and love and while I'm in support of anything Oz related, I'm a little scared about this one.

Zooey Deschanel stars as Dorothy. Alan Cumming of Nightcrawler fame is the Scarecrow, Neal McDonough is the Tin Man, and Raoul Trujillo is the Cowardly Lion. Richard Dreyfuss plays the Wizard and Kathleen Robertson is the Wicked Witch. No idea who's playing Toto.

The cast sounds great but the problem starts with the abbreviations. Dorothy is now D.G., short for Dorothy Gale. Say that out loud. Sounds stupid right? Even worse? Oz is now O.Z. (as in Outer Zone). Nevermind the similarity to "The O.C.," that just sounds straight up ridiculous. And the Cowardly Lion is now named "Raw." Not "Rawr" mind you. But still pronounced rawr, I think.

The other problem I have after watching the trailers is that Zooey Deschanel, otherwise known as Fairuza Balk lite, doesn't seem very into it. Her lines sound wooden as hell. I mean, please, give it some emotion. I've always been on the fence about Zooey as an actress but this could make it or break it for me. Some of the dialogue seems pretty horribly written too. I cringed a few times.

Anyway, the series starts in December so I guess I'll be dedicating six hours of my life to it, even if it sucks. All this reimagining of Oz is good on the surface but I'm not sure I'd be ready for Todd McFarlane's version if it hits the big screen, even if I did enjoy his twisted Oz toys.

For a dark reimagining of the Wizard of Oz that I surely did enjoy, check out "Was" by Geoff Ryman. "Ryman's darkly imaginative, almost surreal improvisation on L. Frank Baum's Oz books combines a stunning portrayal of child abuse, Wizard of Oz film lore and a polyphonic meditation on the psychological burden of the past."

14 October 2007

Michael Clayton (2007)

Not as intelligent or as dramatic of a movie as I was led to believe. While the acting and the direction was nice all around, there just wasn't much going on the whole time and in the end, there was nothing that made you go "Oh, nice!" George Clooney is excellent as a lawyer who is brought in to fix sticky situations but to be honest, we don't get the sense that he's "The Wolf" at all. He's almost kind of a loser actually. There's a message and a brain to this movie but it's all muddled.

I should have checked out one of these flicks: Lars and the Real Girl, We Own the Night, 3:10 to Yuma, Across the Universe, Outsourced, Darjeeling Limited, Assassination of Jesse James, This Is England, or any number of movies I've been so far unable to watch.

09 October 2007

Part of Your World

I'd always known there was something a little bit different about me. I was afraid to name it, to put voice to it, but now, it's all coming out. The good news is, it'll be for a good cause and I'll be paid to do it. An inner teen girl has always lurked deep within my soul but now she'll be exposed for the world to see. I'm writing a new book, this time fiction. It's about a teenage girl who's adopted into a celebrity family. It'll be like My So Called Life plus US Weekly. Well, that may be aiming a bit high.

This whole thing has been in the works for quite awhile but now it's seriously here. I signed the contract a few weeks ago and the first draft is due in a little over a month. There's some serious writing ahead of me. The coolest thing is that I now get to go around asking questions like "So, the way you do your eyeliner, what would you call that exactly?" and play it off as research.

The downside is that I'll be spending lots of time in places where teen girls hang out, or in the teen girl section of the book store, and people will wonder about me. And probably not in a good way.

Most importantly, thanks Full Circle Literary!