Saturday, October 07, 2006

Dames in the Media the League Once Dug: October Edition
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

We're creeping up on Halloween once again, Leaguers. And this year, I thought I'd pay tribute to one of the sirens of the Halloween screen who did so much to really screw up my notions of womanhood.

I speak of none other than Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.

Each Halloween I try to find some excuse to post a picture or two of the Elvira, so this year I'm bringing up my favorite cheesy media figure in the context of DITMTLOD.

(It should also be mentioned that for a short while I've been picking up Elvira's Claypool Comics series, and I believe the series will soon be coming to an end.)

On with the show..

Sweet guacamole... if you were a goofy, sci-fi/fantasy/horror/camp movie loving geek-in-the-making, you stumbled upon Elvira at some point. Played by actress Cassandra Peterson, Elvira was somebody's answer as to how to fill those odd hours on a Saturday night with an imminently watchable and often hilarious host for the cheaper creature features.

Elvira's television persona did not just depend upon her wit and agile mind.

Unfortunately, Elvira's program didn't actually air anywhere I lived. Texas in the 80's loved a woman with Elvira's assets, but may not have actually known how to deal with an intentionally campy, funny, vampire-lookin' lady showing really bad movies. At least I never saw her on TV. It's possible I saw a few of her cameos in the 80's on shows as diverse as The Richard Simmons Show or ChiPs (I turned up cameo listings on Cassandra Peterson's IMDB listing that made me both miss and mourn the 1980's).

It's my guess that Elvira was a bit of a local phenomena in LA and that she sort of blew up into a celebrity based by accident. I suspect she was booked for guest appearances on prime time TV based on local LA celebrity, and that mixed with her presence in beer ads had far more folks identifying her than might have been actually watching her program.

I first recall seeing movies for rent back when The Admiral and Karebear broke down and finally bought a VCR (which Karebear had fought tooth and nail, convinced that the VCR would mean a second mortgage) and we would go to Video Station up on 620 and 183 to rent movies. I recall lingering in the horror movie section and trying to figure out who this Elvira lady was, and why she was on the cover of so many movies. I eventually puzzled it out, but I could never work up the courage to bring that box to the counter for Mom's approval.

Would not have received the KareBear's approval for movie rental in 1987. Curse my inability to rent my own movies...

All of this was going on as I was more or less "discovering girls", but wasn't actually terribly interested in the girls around me. Somehow the girls in the brass section of the Canyon Vista Middle School band just didn't hold the same appeal as a buxom lady in a slinky dress hamming it up and who was seemingly interested in intentionally goofy jokes and bad movies. Like all the twirling I wanted to do alongside Wonder Woman when I was 4, I thought Elvira seemed like a decent sort of dame with whom I could watch the endless line of cheesy movies I took in every weekend via USA's "Up All Night" (a program which apparently only bored teenagers and those in our penal system enjoyed).

Receiving the media attention she deserves

And then came Elvira's big screen debut in "Elvira, Mistress of the Dark". Finding no way to actually ask my Mom to drive me to the theatre to see Elvira without suffering the usual endless line of shame and ridicule which accompanied such a bold request, I finally saw the movie on cable. I then predicted there would be no stopping Elvira as she moved from cult-celebrity to media mainstay.

Well, The League was wrong then, and I'm going to be wrong again in the future. So just be prepared for a few of my crystal ball predictions to be a little less than accurate.

I guess at some point paranoid parents decided that Halloween was too scary for kids or that their kids were all going to get snatched away (note to parents: My Dad took me trick or treating every year through fourth grade... what exactly are you doing that you're so busy you can't walk your kid around the neighborhood once a year?). Anyhoo, it all evens out as Halloween has since been embraced as a holiday for adults. Time for Betty in accounting to dress up as a pirate and crack open a bottle of rum, I guess. And who better to embody that spirit than our very own Mistress of the Dark? She seems like someone who might be fun at a party, does she not?

Well, I hope so, because Elivra declared last Spring that it is her new mission to be as identified with Halloween as pumpkins and black cats. I don't know exactly how one lays claim to a holiday, but The League is here to assist Elvira in her madcap scheme. My gosh, we owe her that much after all she's given us.

Looking back, it's now no surprise I had some odd ideas about girls

Some people come and go. Others are created and stick with us.

So this Halloween, raise a glass to Elvira, the hardest working late-night movie host.

Click for more Dames In The Media The League Once Dug.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

What it is

-If this were Steanso's blog, I'd talk about how last night I went to Mandy's house to watch Project Runway. How we ate dinner before we went over but other folks enjoyed some food from Central Market prior to the show, and then how we all ate a cake and watched the show. I'd mention that Elie, Donna Rene and Kellie were there, as well as Mandy and Steanso.

But I'm not Steanso, so I won't.

- I want to help out Team Bridenstine with their Amazing Rocket Racing Team. How? Leaguers, send in ideas.

- So I finally watched a pilot I DID like the other day, NBC's "Friday Night Lights". Sure, Peter Berg already worked through this material once from a well-received movie based on an extremely well-received book based on a successful real-life team, but... heck. And if you missed Mack Brown's 20 seconds of "acting" (Mack Brown played a local who looked and acted suspiciously like Mack Brown) you missed 20 seconds of the finest TV this season.

No idea how they will pull the show off for a whole 22 episodes when that's about 5+ more episodes than games played for even championship teams, but I'll watch for a while longer.

- I was cleaning today and left the TV on CNN while performing various tasks about the house. The Mark Foley scandal was taking up a pretty good amount of time, but even more so was Hastert's accusations that the Democrats and ABC News were somehow to blame for the flap. The logic is that ABC News has a liberal bias and the Dems (specifically Clinton somehow...) pulled the trigger on the story leading up to the November elections. Possibly. This may possibly be true (though I think the Clinton connection is dubious at best). But what Hastert isn't mentioning is that this doesn't really change the line of details coming out regarding the Foley scandal.

As much as I'm disgusted by Foley's behavior, it's not a national emergency. Properly arming and equipping US Troops and giving them the tools they need to successfully defend themselves in an increasingly volatile conflict (20 US troops dead in October) is important. North Korea supposedly about to test nukes is, to me (and this is just me) what Americans should be far, far more concerned about. American jobs, education...

I am not suggesting the Foley story be swept under the rug, but we have hundreds of thousands of cases like this in the US on a routine basis. We KNOW what the course of action should be, and we KNOW what should happen to those who covered it up (if that can be proven in the investigation we KNOW should occur). There isn't even a questionmark floating over this one.

I did find the comments of former US Rep JC Watts (R - Oklahoma) on CNN to be interesting. He was much more concerned (and maybe this is the unspoken story) about the culture of the Congress when a cover-up is what people can expect, not to mention a constant, ongoing line of scandal on both sides of the aisle.

And, honestly, I'm still not certain why this scandal should pertain to any voting (which is the big threat played up by the talking heads) for local reps. And I doubt Ma and Pa Kettle in Goober Springs, Alabama are going to see any connection between their local rep and Foley, or even Hastert. Nor is there a solid reason that they should.

Just my opinion. Take w/ 1 grain salt.

- This evening the in-laws arrived for a three day visit. I am quite pleased that (a) they are here, and (b) the house isn't a TOTAL wreck.

No idea what's on the agenda for the weekend, but we may be doing some painting. We'll see. It's all about a lot of blue when we paint my office. And maybe some red and gold stripes. We'll see how fancy we can get.

- No word from Harms. Donde esta?

-I still haven't seen Hollywoodland, Black Dhalia, Flyboys (not supposed to be too good, but when's the last time you saw tri-planes in a dogfight?), Idlewild, The Illusionist, The Science of Sleep... I probably never will. Odd. You'd think being unemployed that I'd have more freetime.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Infrequent Blogging

Howdy, Leaguers...

Yes, it's been a while once again since I've hunkered down and dreamed up a decent post. We've been enjoying our return to Austin and visiting with friends, etc... But also we are still unpacking.

Last week my new shelves from Neal's Unfinished Furniture arrived. We primed them Thursday, put on one coat Friday and a second coat on Sunday (which Steanso happily participated in). Lesson #1: I am a bad, bad painter. Lesson #2: Check your feet before walking across the carpet after painting.

I am now enjoying my shelving which has allowed me to unpack my comics and some of Super-collectibles. I'm not entirely done, but I feel like we're making progress. It's funny how things sort of have to happen in order so that we can fully unpack and finish moving in. Next we will paint my office, and possibly Jamie's office. When the paint is dry, then we can put that furniture away and I can move my comics and crates of other stuff from the dining room. And Jamie can square away her office.

Saturday night I grabbed dinner with irredeemable Matt Mangum, the irreplaceable Juan Diaz and the irrepressible Nicole. I honestly didn't recall caring too much for Castle Hill Cafe, but maybe my palate has changed in the desert heat. We came back to the Fortress and chatted for a few hours until Jamie was ready to be put back in her stasis chamber. Sunday we got up at the crack of 11:00 and drove to Central Market for a coffee and pastry. I ran into Chris and Kelly C., whom I had seen at the same Central Market just over a month ago when we'd come to look at houses. Long ago Chris was in my employ. He was a good worker, but perpetually tardy. Unwilling to fire Chris for his tardiness, I tried negative reinforcement. Push-ups for each minute late didn't work as Chris was in good shape, so I began to force Chris to eat circus peanuts, one for every minute he was late. Oddly, I have no recollection regarding whether or not this method was effective in increasing Chris' punctuality.

No sooner had we seen Chris and Kelly than John and Glen, some old pals from work/ outside of work made an appearance.

Today I was scheduled to have lunch with my former manager. Not two minutes on campus and I ran into our networking specialist, who immediately recognized me. I even stopped off to check my grafitti in the restroom, and, sure enough, parts of it are still legible 8 years later. I am glad to report, my grafitti is exactly as hilarious today as it was when I had not yet graduated.

It's good to be back, Leaguers.

Oh, by the by... Steven, how's Tuesday or Wednesday evening?

Sunday I went to the Alamo Drafthouse to see Mike Judge's latest, "Idiocracy". The movie is funny, I am happy to report. Unfortunately, some of the best gags in the movie fall in the first twenty or thirty minutes. A lot has been said about "Idiocracy" receiving no wide release (it's playing in 7 theaters nation-wide) and having received no studio build-up or marketing.

FOr those looking for goblins in the shadows, I don't see a studio conspiracy, but I also don't think the movie was going to play well in Goober Springs, Alabama. Some folks who eventually see the movie will get a little irritated with the basic premise, so I'll be curious as the movie reaches wider release to see if there's any negative backlash. My guess is that "Idiocracy" will wind up a cult movie with a smaller audience than "Office Space". Most likely, the studio just wants to see if Judge's cable and video-release success from "Office Space" can be duplicated once the DVD hits the market.

To the point, the movie satirizes the culture of instant/ mindless gratification, and everyone but subsistence farmers is going to, in some way, recognize themselves as willing participants in Judge's vision of the future. Some folks may take more umbrage than others at the steps that will lead us all there. But I think that's the nature of decent satire.

The Fall TV season is upon us.

I know that I, as a warm blooded mammal, am supposed to like "Studio 60". I have covered this with RHPT and Jim D.

I watched the second episode of "Heroes" (a first episode for me) and felt as if I had been dropped mid-way through the second season of "Lost". I didn't know who anybody was or what was going on. This is a very, very bad way to grow an audience. To comic-fans, all of the bigger and smaller story-arcs will have a certain ring of familiarity. A little from X-Men, a little from Rising Stars, a little from this comic or that comic... add in shadowy organization who knows absolutely EVERYTHING already... I dunno. I guess I was hoping for more of a Misfits of Science that would develop a mythology, not a show which is so locked down that the predestination feels like a heavy weight over the whole show. To my eyes, the show doesn't even qualify as episodic, it's chapters in a longer narrative that I'm being asked to buy lock, stock and barrel.

"Lost" has been a huge phenomena for ABC, despite it's required "pay attention to the details" mythology and narrative demands on viewers (thank God for DVRs, huh?). Unfortunately, for every "Lost" there are five "Invasion"s and other "mystery" shows which hope to hook the viewer and create a cult phenomenon.

Oh, and just from a narrative standpoint from a mystery show that asked viewers to be similarly engaged... remember in Twin Peaks how we found out Bob was living in Leland Palmer, so it was creeeeeeepy when we found out the dad was a bad guy? Remember how well that worked? Well... mayhaps the writers of "Heroes" could take a page from that kind of storytelling and less of the "Ha Ha, what a bastard am I!" sort of drawn out thing they've got going on with the cheerleader and her dad.

Also, lighten up a little, for God's sake. Your characters are super heroes and villains and they all look and behave like mopey models who couldn't land a "Gap" ad.

I'm not sure I buy all of the characters and all of the storylines. I just wanted to follow that Hiro guy around and see what he was up to. Somehow the guy who basically couldn't speak English was five times more believable than any other character/actor, which isn't a good sign for either the writers or the actors. I sort of liked the "mind reading Cop" guy, but you could see that coming from a mile away...

Honestly, it's going to take quite a bit to get me to watch "Heroes" again next week. But, heck... maybe... I've said it before and I'll say it again, I've never been a "weekly episode" show kind of guy, and I doubt that's likely to change in the future. But I'm also only batting about .500 on criticizing new shows before they prove me wrong. So I want to give it another chance, but I can't shake the feeling this is a hokey cable show (ie: The 4400 or any regular series on Sci-Fi) with better production effects.

So that's about it for tonight. Hope that helps you guys out.

In case it's a while before I blog again, here are a bunch of videos courtesy of YouTube...

Is it just me, or could Luthor's diabolical genius be better spent doing something other than trying to discover the source of peanut buttery goodness (especially at such a low, low price...)?

I don't want to hear anything else about the "Can You Read My Mind?" scene...

More Superfun from our friends overseas

I don't know what's going on in this scene, but with his mask off, Spidey's cuter than I remember him being...

How I should have abruptly ended my employment at my last job...

Weird Al is back... discuss.

Portions of this are all too accurate.

Better than Episode II!!!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Random Comments: September