Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Hidden Vs. I Come In Peace

* = As loathe as I am to admit it now that he's in Denver, I love me some Peyton Manning. The saddest part is I think he might be a better comedian than Quarterback. Oh and Manning as Uncle Rico is priceless...

As I was home yesterday with a migraine and a run of some minor, if there is such a thing, siezures I took some time to accomplish some things. First off, I finally, and I mean finally as it’s taken me MONTHS to do, finished August Derleth’s Cthulhu Mythos (**** out of 5). Let me state that I am not a fan of Derleth’s take on the Mythos as a whole. His desire to turn it into a Judeo-Christian analogy for a battle between Good and Evil seems to sap the otherworldly creeping doom dread out of most tales. The assigning of Elemental ‘identities’ to the Great Old Ones also strikes me as a bit contrived. I know, I know it seems that all I’m doing is complaining about Derleth’s work, but the reality is there are some serious ‘logic holes’ in it. All that being said, both the Mask Of Cthulhu & Trail Of Cthulhu cycles are basically perfect. I’m serious, they are F’Ning wonderful. They hit on the overwhelming sense of dread and conspiracy, they have a ‘Pulpy’ sensibility that I find lacking in a lot Lovecraft’s writing without going full blown Doctor Who Crazy on us like Lumley, and they are really written with a flourish. The reason I can’t give this massive collection a 5 Star rating is that Derleth’s Ithaqua Mythos Cycle bored me to tears. There is a reason it took me four months to finish this book, and it’s because the initial half concerning Ithaqua was repetitive and plodding. Now I finished the last two ‘Cycles’ in a week because they quiet literally jumped off the page. For those that want to complain about Derleth’s protagonists ‘getting away scot free’ I’d like to point out that if you read through to the last tale it is abundantly clear that they do NOT. The inevitable comes true, and even the cleverest, most ultruistic, and staunch defenders of humanity in the end are just ‘too human’ to stand against the might of Cthulhu & his ilk. If you enjoy the Mythos, like I know some of you do, then do give Derleth’s stuff a read, because without him as a publisher we may not have enjoyed Lovecraft at all.

I also made a significant dent in my Old School Doctor Who watching, which had been on hiatus for unknown reasons. I was able to finally watch the following ;

- The Celestial Toymaker (*** out of 5) – I wanted to love this serial, I mean c’mon the Toymaker is potentially a great villain, and he’s played by Michael Gough, who was Alfred Pennyworth in Burton’s Batman flicks. He’s powerful, like ‘God Like’ powerful, has an outfit that makes the Mandarin jealous, and he uses killer clowns! The guy is damn near a perfect foil. The thing is the serial meanders. It’s a formulaic ‘challenge’ situation, where the Doctor and the Companions are pulled somewhere they don’t want to be and can only escape if they do ‘this thing(s)’. There are a lot of this style of stories to be honest, but I do like the idea of Companions and the Doctor being separated and having differing challenges where if either fail they ALL fail, but the Doctor’s challenge was very abstract, sort of boring, and Hartnell was only it via a voice in two of the four episodes. I’m sorry but no Doctor in Doctor Who is annoying. I do have to say I did enjoy the climax quite a bit though. I’m also slightly curious as to why they’ve never gone back, on the television show, and explored the Toymaker as a nemesis again. It’s a serviceable entry into the Who library, but not one I’d sit down to watch again.

- The Gunfighters (**** out of 5) – Let me start by saying Cassandra HATED this serial. The funny thing she didn’t even hate it for the actual episodes, she loathes it do to a re-occurring song that basically narrates and is used to keep viewers ‘up’ on the story so far. To a certain extent it’s an annoying ploy, but simultaneously it’s an interesting narrative choice, risky, and fits the tone of the tale. The premise is fantastic as the Doctor and his companions find themselves in Tombstone scant days before the Showdown at the O.K. Corral. The sly and devious Doc Holliday tricks his enemies the Clanton Brothers into thinking that the Doctor is actually him, chaos ensues. The thing that struck me is the tone is both funny and pretty damn violent for an old school Who episode. There is a relatively high body count, Johnny Ringo is extremely menacing, and there really isn’t a ‘happy’ ending to how things go down. If you’ve seen the movie Tombstone starring Val Kilmer, before he ate a midget, & Kurt “I Own Your Ass” Russell then you basically know the story, it’s just a matter of the principles being played by different actors, oh and all the Doctor Who stuff. I think this episode shows just how anti-violence the Doctor truly is, as well as how Steven & Dodo are ‘real’ people. When they are initially confronted with violence, they sort of laugh it off, but quickly into the episode they not only aren’t laughing, but they are shook by it. I also have to point out that the actors playing Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, & Bat Masterson are great, I mean seriously great. For me the supporting actors can make or break a serial or episode, and this group surely does make it. In addition I think it’s interesting to see a British take on a distinctly American piece of history. This take certainly takes some of the romanticism out of the Old West without making it overly bleak. Overall it’s just a fantastic episode. Of course aside from the singing…

- The Savages (***** out of 5) – This is another one of those ‘lost’ classics as it’s all ‘Reconstructed’ episodes, so it’s a bit of a difficult watch. However, the story alone is wonderful and more than makes up for having to ‘watch’ it like a Radio Drama. The Doctor and his Companions find a highly advanced civilization that laud their arrival, but soon afterwards the Companions and then the Doctor discover the source of this Advanced Society’s boundless energy. I don’t want to spoil it for you, because I really enjoyed the premise as much as the episode. I also feel it important to point out that this is one of those serials where I really did feel that the Doctor was in peril. There is a moment where you just feel he’s going to talk his way out of trouble, and when he doesn’t you’re a bit taken aback. This is also Steven’s last episode as a Companion. I can’t give away what happens without ruining the tale, but suffice to say he receives a sad and yet fitting farewell. I really can’t state enough just how much I loved this serial, it had action, a great premise and story, the acting was solid, and the ending had emotional weight. I highly recommend it, even in its ‘Reconstructed’ form.

- The War Machines (*** ½ out of 5) – (Ring to break being hypnotized by a Robot Intelligence OR The Doctor demonstrating the Strength of his Pimp Hand? You decide...) So we went two for three in the ‘Excellent Serials’ category leading into this one. What’s to say about The War Machines? Well it felt like a Dalek episode without the Daleks. I did like W.O.T.A.N. as the ‘Big Bad’, but his War Machines were just a bit goofy looking and beyond the battle in the warehouse I never felt they were a real threat at all. In fact as I watched this serial unfold after the first episode I felt the only true way that the Doctor could lose was through his reliance on the British Bureaucracy for assistance. Not that I don’t like Doctor Who stories set in ‘modern’ times, but his reliance on authority figures to do the right thing never ceases to annoy me, which is funny because he seems to have no problem turning up on other worlds and just starting revolutions and the like. To me it was just such a lost opportunity, because that first episode has such an underlying sense of conspiracy and ‘Trust No One’ that when it devolves into running, arguing, and the postulating I grew a bit bored. This also marks the end of Dodo as a Companion. Early on in the story she’s basically removed from ‘play’, and we see that Ben Jackson, the British Naval officer, and the gorgeous Polly will be our new Companions. I have to say based on first impressions alone I dig them both. Ben has a tough guy vibe thing going on and yet isn’t as whiny as Steven. He also has some genuine chemistry with Hartnell as the Doctor. As for Polly, she’s easier on the eyes than Dodo and just a bit of a better actress. I also like the sexual tension/budding relationship angle they have between Ben & Polly, I look forward to seeing how it plays out. The thing is I recognized while going through my discs that I only have two more serials with Hartnell left. I thought that I’d be excited to move on to Patrick Troughten as the Doctor seeing as a lot of people laud his episodes, but I have to admit I’m going to miss Hartnell. He’s got a great delivery of his lines, he comes off as grumpy, mischievous, but overall Grandfatherly. So with only two serials left of the Original Doctor, I better enjoy him while I have him because soon I’ll be seeing the First Regeneration!

GAH! I’m still tired and all I have left for you is…


- R.I.P. Ray Bradbury. It sad that the folks who influenced the upbringing of a lot of us are disappearing and the cultural landscape only seems to get bleaker and sparser. The way things are going right now I’m not sure we’re too far off from Fahrenheit 451. The man was a titan of imagination, and his ability to enthrall with this prose was basically peerless. Creative people like Bradbury are now swallowed whole by the corporate machine, diluted, and re-packaged into ‘things’ more readily accessible by the slack jawed troglodyte masses. I’m sorry, does that sound bitter? I guess it’s been a rough week.

- Prometheus better be good. I’ve been reading a lot of early reviews and I’m beginning to become afraid that it’s simply over-hyped and not something special.

- Thank you Wisconsin for reminding me why I live in Minnesota with your Recall Election. Oh and thanks to the Supreme Court for ‘Citizens United’ proving that you can in fact BUY an election. This guy is a car wreck who may have won the Recall only to be ousted due to his legal issues, his which his defense he was paying with campaign money. It utterly amazes me that a guy as outrageously dishonest and disingenuous won, but hey when you outspend the other side MASSIVELY what do we really expect? I mean this is ‘Sconsin, deep in the heart of ‘Merica, where reading and facts are for pussies.

- By the by Heidi sorry for the Hate on your State, but after Tuesday it deserves it.

- Speaking of politics, I was going to ask this guy I know, who’s a delegate for Ron Paul what he thinks of Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for President, but then I say his latest Facebook(z) post. It said something to the effect that President Barry is now the ‘Murderer In Chief’ because of all the drone attacks. It’s really funny, and not in a “ha ha” way, to see someone who’s opinion might have mattered to you skew so far into zealotry that you just want to avoid them altogether. Oh well, at least I didn’t have that much invested in them as a person.

- I’m going to have to mow and grill this weekend, and it’s going to be brutal out. Suffice to say I’m not looking forward to it.

- In FAKE SPORT’S NEWS, Dave’s wrestler ‘The Czar’ is up for an Intercontinental Title shot after racking up wins against R-Truth, Matt Hardy, & the Undertaker. My guy has been feuding with Vance Archer, Randy Orton, & Dolph Ziggler pretty regularly. I was slightly concerned about Jericho & The Miz taking another shot at my Tag Titles, but they ‘broke up’. Now I’m not really sure who the #1 contenders for the Tag belts is.

I’d have loved to end on some positive note, but this week the only thing positive has been my lovely wife Cassandra. Every time I get to that point where mentally, emotionally, physically, etc. I feel like “I’m done with this shit”, she either does something, says something, touches me in a way that re-ignites my soul, jokes, cooks, sings, laughs, etc. she does SOMETHING that brings me back and re-focuses me. I know you read and sometimes even comment here, but I just wanted to let you know again Cassandra that you are an amazing woman and far more than I deserve. I love you.

Oh and author Tim Pratt, YOU RULE for the comment on my review of your Pathfinder book. Just had to point that out…

“Steve called me up and said: "Wanna hang out tonight?

We could see an indie film or just grab a bite."

I said: "Oh, Steve, you're cute, but a movie's not what I need.

No offence, but I'd rather stay home and read."

Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury

The greatest Sci-Fi writer in history

Oh Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury

Since I was twelve, I've been your number one fan

Kiss me, you Illustrated Man.

I'll feed you grapes and Dandelion Wine,

And we'll read a little Fahrenheit 69.

You're a prolific author, Ray Bradbury

Come on baby, I'm down on one knee

I carved our names on a Halloween Tree

You write about earthlings going to Mars

And I write about blowin' you in my car

You won an Emmy Award for the screen play adaptation of Halloween Tree

Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury

The greatest Sci-Fi writer in history

Oh Fuck Me, (fuck me) Ray Bradbury

S is for Space, L is for love

S is for Space, L is for lo-o-o-ove

S is for Space, L is for love

S is for Space, L is for lo-o-o-o-o-ove

Houston, we have a throb-lem

Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury

The greatest Sci-Fi writer in history

Oh Fuck Me, (fuck me) Ray Bradbury


Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury (fuck me)

The greatest Sci-Fi writer in history

Cause when you fuck me

Ray Bradbury

Something Wicked This Way Will Come

Something Wicked This Way Will Come

Something Wicked This Way Will Come

Something Wicked This Way Will Come”

* = We use the word 'Genius' to much, because a lot my uses of that word pale in comparison to the GENIUS of this quote. You will be missed sir.


  1. Wisconsin's got some issues, I'll give you that, but I still love it here. I was just on Madeline Island taking Q over on the ferry for the fun of it, and yeah, I love it up north in the woods.

    As for Tuesday, I went, and voted, but I have to say, I'm so glad the recall is OVER. I hope that the yard signs in every-other front yard is soon torn down and peace is restored to my neighborhood.

    But Walker? Yeah, the guy is uber creepy. Now, you know I'm not usually one to make judgments on someone's level of education. I'm aware you can do AWEsome things without a degree. But, if you're going to be my governor, I want you to be extremely well educated. Walker? Yeah, he's a college DROP OUT. He refuses to release his college transcripts, but at one point admitted his GPA was only 2.59. That's LESS THAN a B average. There are even rumors that he was expelled. So guess what kids? Flunk out of college, get caught for cheating or stealing, but don't worry, someday you'll be a governor if you cozy up to the Koch empire.

    Rant over, happy weekend!

  2. Hides,
    I think it sucks to watch your state tear itself completely apart. I think the real lesson is if you are a guy that can be 'sold' to the masses, and are willing to do whatever your corporate pay masters instruct you then you can ACHIEVE ANYTHING! HOORAY! This is 'Merica land of the over privilaged, the short attention span, the sell outs, the liars, the bigots, and the cheats.
    I prefer to try and dwell and keep America alive, where we can speak our mind intellgently, joke without fear of it starting a fight, look at a person based upon their merits and not their bank account, the place where people still read, where texting is done primarily by 13 year old girls or people in emergencies and NEVER when driving, a place where Reality TV is avoided like the plague, and where we can always learn something new from someone every day.
    Unfortunately at the rate we're going I'm more likely to be a Number not a Name in a Corporate Factory Complex where I will be betrayed by my children to the Private Police for spouting political disadence while pooping. Thus is life, I just hope I'm shot into space or something cool rather than burned alive or crucified by zealots.
    Either way at least the weekend looks solid.