The Vast Wasteland

Sheila's rantings, most likely of no interest, on TV, movies, books, music, etc.

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Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

I live in Seattle, am married, have two cats (one is a genius, the other insane), and am a mild-mannered copy editor by day. I love horseback riding, coffee, reading, TV, movies, music, playing (too much) World of Warcraft, and lying on the couch. This isn't a personal blog, but rather a place for me to vent about movies, TV shows, books, music, etc. Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I'm Back from Neptune!

I've returned from Veronica Mars Bloggers' Press Day. It was wonderful, and I'll post more about it (including a Veronica Mars picture of the day!) later this week.

However, I do want to take the time to thank some people:
  • To Sienna and Chelsea at mPRm, thank you for arranging my trip and for inviting me. It must have been a lot of work, and I appreciate it.
  • To Holly at the WB, thanks for being a great tour guide and for organizing our visit to the set.
  • To Rob Thomas, thanks for personally escorting us around the set, for answering our questions, and for being so enthusiastic.
  • To Kristen Bell, Percy Daggs, Jason Dohring, Ryan Hansen, and Kyle Gallner, thanks for being so nice and letting us take their pictures.
  • To everyone on the VM set, thanks for being friendly and welcoming. It was a great day!
ETA: My fellow bloggers who went to the press day are more industrious than I am! Photos and impressions are up on some sites; see the links under "Veronica Mars Bloggers" at right.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Very Grey Blog

If you've never read Grey Matter, the blog by the writers of Grey's Anatomy, I recommend it. This week, the writer of "Yesterday" justifies the Meredith and George incident (they slept together). Apparently some fans went crazy when this happened, accusing Meredith of being not only whiny but also manipulative and destructive. They're very protective of George's tender little heart. I don't think Meredith's whiny--or rather, if she is, it's with good reason--but rather that she's a good Everywoman. The stuff she's dealing with is difficult, and if she's occasionally immature, well, aren't we all. I find her sympathetic. But I also adore George, so I hope he comes through this OK--stronger and happier. (I also wonder if people would be less negative if she were male...but that's a tired old issue.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Tuesday Round Up

Greetings, my kittens. Sorry posting's been slow; very busy with work this week, and I'm also getting ready to visit Neptune for Veronica Mars Bloggers Press Day! I'm very excited; my flight to San Diego is Sunday, Monday morning we spend the day at the studio, and Monday afternoon we fly home. Of course I'll give you all the juicy details next Tuesday or Wednesday--hopefully with pictures!

A few general things:

I watched the movie Sahara on Saturday night--and I want my 2 hours back. This was too long and way too testosterone-y for me. (Testosterone-y with extra cheese, even.) If you like explosions, boat chases, and American-male machismo, though (American being the operative word), you might enjoy this flick. My DH pointed out that this may be the most racist movie of 2005--lots of Africans get beat up. I think Matthew McConaughey was miscast, also. Will Smith would have been better--but then they couldn't have done that white Southern American male GRRRRR macho thing.

I think I may have found the cure for the common Cold Case. (Hee. I amuse myself.) I watched Sunday's episode on my DVR last night--you know, the one with the '50s female mental patient who gets a lobotomy in hopes of curing herself so she can see her son again, but instead is purposefully abandoned in the park in the snow to freeze to death--and, as usual, I spiraled into a little ball of despair on the couch. It was all I could do to hit "play" on my DVD player--but I was glad I did. Two episodes of Gilmore Girls later, and I felt much better. Stars Hollow cheered me right up: there's nothing like a kitten named Apricot, a chick named Stella, a Bangles concert, and Jared Padalecki's adorable hair to make me brighten up. I'm really enjoying this series, and I suspect that my husband is too. Though he might not admit it.

There's an article about House in New York Magazine with this subtitle: "In the blistering medical drama, Hugh Laurie's character, Dr. House, is so engaging that he verges on mythic." The best thing about this article, though, is the amazing Paul Willoughby illustration.

Oh, Martha. Does her insanity know no end? Here's an article about her feud with Donald Trump. (Or, maybe, his fued with her.) As a side note, does anyone else think she's taking uppers?

I'm not a huge James Bond fan, but this article amuses me. What do you think--are Daniel Craig's "pale, flattened face" and "large, fleshy ears" all wrong for 007?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A Very Crowded Island

Let's count the inhabitants of the mysterious Lost Island, shall we? (Let me know if I'm forgetting someone.)

1. The Lostaways
2. The Tailaways
3. The Others (One group? Two groups? And any spies they may have sent out. And all the people and children they've taken.)
4. Danielle (And maybe others from her party; or maybe they're all dead. Alex is alive anyway, but she's an "Other" at this point.)
5. Desmond (And maybe others from other Dharma hatches; or maybe they're all dead.)
6. The Balloon Guy (and his dead wife)
7. The animals: a polar bear(s), a black horse, a poor squished tree frog (Sawyer is now dead to me. DEAD!), boars, and Lostzilla--which, it turns out, is a strange swarming mist-smoke creature.

Seems to me that this is a very crowded island. The Lostaways really should explore it some more; there might be a Club Med on the other side of the island. Hee.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What's on VM Tonight?

Remember, I'm UPN's tool now? Even though my cable-box info says tonight's VM is the new "Versatile Toppings," my official UPN press release (below) says it's a repeat, and will be a repeat all this month. Hrumph. If that's true, I guess I can watch Bones after all.
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Veronica Mars is facing a lot of competition in February, so to protect the series and to make sure that as many people as possible can watch the original episodes, we're going to air repeats for the next few weeks. The good news is that when Veronica returns some time in early March, we'll have nothing but original episodes through the season finale - so the goal here is, after this, no more repeats.

VERONICA MARS EPISODES:

UPN - VERONICA MARS - "Rat Saw God," Wednesday, February 15 at 9:00PM - Rebroadcast
UPN - VERONICA MARS - "Nobody Puts Baby In A Corner," Wednesday, February 22 at 9:00PM - Rebroadcast
UPN - VERONICA MARS - "Ahoy, Mateys!," Wednesday, March 1 at 9:00PM - Rebroadcast

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What Happens when You Gizoogle My Blog?

Bwah ha ha ha!!!

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Open Wanna Be Gangsta ta TV Shows, P-to-tha-izzart II

Dizzle Cold Case:
Pleaze stop wit tha "murdered black thugz F-R-to-tha-izzom tha pizzast" plots. Yeah, I git it--racism is bad. And tha pizzast was a less enlightened time . Bow wow wow yippee yo yipee yay. But remind'n me every otha wizzle seems a bit...reactionary. It's creepy. S-T-to-tha-izzop it fo' sheezy.

Dear Supernatizzle:
Stiznop wit all tha "WB" moments. You know, where tha brotha have ta have dizzle raps n discuss they blunt-rollin' . Subscribe nigga, get yo issue.. Jizzay have yo pretty boys shoot tha monsta n look wounded, OK?

Dear Grey's Anatomy:
I love you.

Open Letters to TV Shows, Part II

Dear Cold Case:
Please stop with the "murdered black people from the past" plots. Yeah, I get it--racism is bad. And the past was a less enlightened time. But reminding me every other week seems a bit...reactionary. It's creepy. Stop it.

Dear Supernatural:
Stop with all the "WB" moments. You know, where the brothers have to have deep talks and discuss their feelings. Just have your pretty boys shoot the monsters and look wounded, OK?

Dear Grey's Anatomy:
I love you.

Awwwww

Because it's Valentine's Day, I thought I'd share some things my Dear, Darling, Talented husband got me. He got me advance copies of:

Sarah Waters' new novel, The Night Watch. She's one of my favorite novelists--I love her historical settings and twisted, Dickensian plots. I can't wait to start this novel, which is set in London during WWII. I'll review when I finish.

An upcoming CD, Ballad of the Broken Seas, by Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan. Isn't that a strange combination? A mixture of the twee (Belle & Sebastian) with the grungey (Screaming Trees). I've listened to the first few songs, and they're good but strange. I wouldn't expect anything less from these two.

The lesson here, my kittens, is that it pays to marry someone who works in a newsroom and has access to upcoming releases.

And even though I try not to get personal on the internet, I'd like to send a big kiss and hug to John. I love you very much, and I'm glad we're married.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Great Insult Songs

I must be cranky today--all I can think about are great song-lyric insults. Some of my favorites are below. Please add yours!

1. "All the blood to your brain is in vain." (Frente)

2. "Talking to your friend is like talking to a shoe; his hair is stupid blond and his eyes are stupid blue." (Luna)

3. "I've come to wish you an unhappy birthday, because you're evil and you lie, and if you should die, I might feel slightly sad but I won't cry." (The Smiths)

4. "Frankly Mr. Shankly, since you ask, you are a flatulent pain the ass." (Also The Smiths; Morrissey may be the king of insulting himself and others.)

Monday Round Up and Mini Book Review

First, thanks to everyone who's commented on my blog! I appreciate your comments.

What I watched this weekend:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the 2005 remake). This movie was OK--I do adore Johnny Depp and his amazing cheekbones, and the boy who plays Charlie is just adorable. However, I like Gene Wilder's misanthropic Willy Wonka better. Nothing can match the sheer cackling darkness of the '70s version. (I love the squirrels, though. I want a nut-cracking squirrel! Daddy, I want one NOW.) This would have been greatly improved without Wonka's childhood flashbacks. *shudder*

Gilmore Girls (first four episodes of season 1). This is the first time I've ever watched this show! And it's so very twee. I love the dialogue, the mother-daughter relationship, and the sheer hyperness of Lorelai. Oh, and Rory is SO CUTE. And a wonderful character. Great acting all around, actually. I look forward seeing the rest of this show.

Mini Book Review: A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
(No spoilers) This is a mini review because I don't know what to say except for: great book! Better than the last one (Fiery Cross) because much more happened. In fact, a lot happened in this volume. And the Revolutionary War has finally started--yay! (Uh, if "yay" is the proper adjective for a war.) So, is there one more book left to go in this series? If given the opportunity, I think Gabaldon could write this series for all eternity. Boy are they getting long. I've been reading this book for almost a month. I'm starting on a Tamora Pierce series now (Protector of the Small, if you want to know), and I'm excited to be reading something light (literally as well as thematically) after this wrist-snapper.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Book Review: The DaVinci Code

No spoilers, in case anyone is left who hasn't read this yet!

I work in publishing, and therefore felt I should read the book that saved the book industry's butt a couple years back. (Not a joke--if it weren't for this book, sales would have totally tanked, and many publishers would be out of business.) I didn't expect much from it, so I was fairly surprised by the fact that I enjoyed it!

This isn't a great book, however. Its worst fault is the author's banal writing style. (There are too many dialogue tags, plus the horridly self-conscious movie plotting. The characters are one-dimensional, and as a whole, this book is easily forgettable. You can tell this book was "workshopped," also.) The ending is a bit clunky, too.

However, I can't dislike a book that's so earnest and enthusiastic. And that's the book's true charm--the author (and characters) are really excited about the subject matter. The author wants us to be amazed, just as he is, by the book's (and DaVinci's) puzzles. And it's easy to catch that enthusiasm.

I like the book's European setting and historical research. Also, this book has the honor of being the only male-written goddess-cult book I've read. Kind of a nice change.

All in all, this book has a fun plot, and is a great vacation read. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Interesting Lost Article

Linky here. The best line: Locke is "Howard Dean with better wilderness skills." Bwah.

(Actually, I like the first part of the article, about how the characters aren't wholly redeemed from their dark pasts.)

Thursday Round Up

The best part of last-night's Veronica Mars:

* Logan being so totally charming that we all fell in love with him--but he's actually just using poor Hannah to get to her father. Ouch. Logan, you bastard! You lovable, charismatic bastard.

* Keith and Cook--my new ship! My DH composed Keith's imaginary blog entry. It's so cute I have to share:

2/8/06: 9:33 p.m.

OMG! OMG! You would not believe what happened to me. I totally got drunk and
hung out with my all-time big-ups ball player! He is SO COOL! Kinda messed
up personal life, but so awesome!!! I was like "you remember that time you
hit that rocket to right field" and he was all like "yeah." Schweet! I'm so
drunk. LOL.

OT, do I have a daughter? Where is she?

Lost:

*What the heck's up with DarthCharlie? He turned really evil really quickly. Oh, and writers? We get it with the blanket-hood, thanks.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Whoo, I'm Wallace!

What Veronica Mars character are you? I'm a little disturbed that I was almost Logan...

You scored as Wallace Fennel. You are an awesome friend and Veronica's sidekick, but you don't mind... except you're afraid of getting expelled for getting all of those permenant records.

Wallace Fennel


44%

Logan Echolls


38%

Keith Mars


31%

Lilly Kane


25%

Backup (2.0)


25%

Veronica Mars


25%

Eli


13%

Duncan Kane


0%

Which Veronica Mars Character Are You?
created with QuizFarm.

Monday, February 06, 2006

I'm Going to Neptune!

Squeeee!

UPN is having a Bloggers Press Day. They're flying VM bloggers into San Diego, putting us up in a hotel, and giving us a tour of the Veronica Mars set the next day! Oh, and we're having lunch with Rob Thomas, too. And something was mentioned about photo opportunities with the cast and crew....*hyperventilates a little*

I got the day off work, and I'm going. This officially makes me UPN's tool. But I don't care--I feel the VM love, and I'll do their publicity work.

This Week's Veronica Mars (2/8/06)

WARNING: This post contains spoilers, and I'm now a tool for UPN. This is the official press release for this week's episode, and it reveals a bit more than the previews on TV do. Don't read if you don't want to know! Also, more to come on me being a tool in the next post.
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(My comments are in purple)
MUCH TO HER SURPRISE, VERONICA IS MOVED TO HELP JACKIE AFTER SHE IS ACCUSED OF STEALING MONEY DURING THE WINTER CARNIVAL FOR THE SENIOR CLASS TRIP (I hate all-caps!)

Jeffery Sams ("Soul Food") Guest Stars as Jackie's Dad Terrence Cook, and
Tina Majorino ("Napoleon Dynamite") Returns as Mac (yay, mac!)


"Ain't No Magic Mountain High Enough"--When all of the proceeds for the senior class trip disappear while in her possession during the Neptune High Winter Carnival (oooh, yay, a winter carnival! I hope it's uber-cheesy), Veronica must identify the clever thief among them and surprisingly finds herself defending Jackie as accusations fly. Guy Bee directed the episode from a script written by Diane Ruggiero. Tina Majorino guest stars as Mac. (Also, Madison Sinclair is in this episode. At least, I think that was her in the preview.)

Meanwhile, Keith confronts his baseball idol and client Terrance Cook (guest star Jeffery Sams) with questions about his past and the bus crash. Later, Dick tries to humiliate Beaver in front of his carnival date (heee--I love, ahem, Dick. I hope Beav's date is Mac!) as Logan sets his sights on a sophomore. (augh, Logan, noooo! Not a Sophomore!)

Monday Round Up

What I watched (of note) this weekend:

Puppy Bowl II (on Animal Planet). This is three hours of puppies, in a cage, playing with toys and each other. That's it. My favorite part: The Kitty Halftime Show, which was 30 minutes of kittens playing with toys and with each other. So sweet! This is perfect backgound viewing for non-football types: I had the TV on mute, had Placebo on my iPod, and was reading a book. A good day.

My Neighbor Totoro. A charming anime movie about a gentle forest spirit who befriends two sisters. Oh, and there's a 12-legged (male) cat bus, and two other smaller totoros. I'm a huge sucker for cute (in case you hadn't noticed), and this movie has lots of cute. It also has that moment where the real world and fantasy collide--a feature of all the best anime, in my opinion. Adorable animation for the sisters, also. To see the cuteness, click here.

The Aristocrats. This is an extremely foul-mouthed movie that manages to be funny, entertaining, and kind of touching...and cost next to nothing to make, I'm sure. It's a movie about a rude joke, and features bunches (and bunches) of comedians telling the joke, or talking about the joke. Basic info on the joke is here, but it's definitely adult subject matter.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

My TWOP Veronica Mars Post

I cross-posted this to TWOP also. If anyone can answer my question, that would be kewl...
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Great episode! I really liked it. (Doesn't hurt that the Donut is gone, either. Buh-bye, confusing non-consistent bland boy.) I was worried last week that we were veering into dangerous territory, but this episode seems to be a return to form. Hooray! (Or maybe I should say HoYay! Logan and Weevil! Hee.)

A few random coments and a question:

* I suspect that Jackie, Dick, and Beaver will all become more important as the series goes on (especially in connection to the bus crash), and that's why they're in the credits.

* Great continuity in this episode, and I always love the return of Cliff, Inga, Dick, and the Beav.

* Am I the only old lady Morrissey fan who thinks of the song "First of the Gang to Die" whenever I hear the name Hector? *crickets chirping* I am? Oh. ("Hector was the first of the gang with a gun in his hand / And the first to do time, the first of the gang to die, Oh my...")

* My question: Weevil said last week, and alluded to it again this week, that whoever's dealing with the Fitzpatricks is the one who killed Felix. Why does he think this? What clue am I forgetting?

My New Favorite Show, and Other Ramblings

I love Horse Power on Animal Planet! It would be perfect if the girls were dressage riders instead of jumpers...but dressage is more for perfection freaks and not adrenaline junkies, and therefore less TV-friendly. Plus, there are fewer dramatic spills in dressage. Still, it's a fabulous show if you like horses. It's like America's Next Top Model--but for horses. Linky here.

So glad to see Veronica Mars return to form last night! What a great episode! I was worried after the ultra-cute, self-consiously witty "Donut Run." But at least Duncan's gone now. Buh-bye.

Stoopid Fox moved Bones, a show I was actually beginning to like (mmmm....Angel...) to Wednesday night at 9. This wouldn't be a problem, except my DVR can only record two shows at a time--and Wednesday at 9 is dedicated to my two favorites, VM and Lost. So I guess I'll catch you in reruns, Vampire-with-a-soul...er, I mean FBI agent.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Dr. Phil Funny!

*Wipes away tear* Below is a snip from an article that starts "Dear Dr. Phil." The linky is here.

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Be honest. Sometimes, when you're alone, do you just start laughing out loud? I mean, you've really hypnotized the huddled masses with this do-as-I-say babble. I don't know of any reputable "doctor" who could get away with adopting a one-name sobriquet. If a "Dr. Mike" asked me to turn and cough, I'd call the cops.

And, no offence, but for somebody who launched The Ultimate Weight-Loss Challenge, you seem to have conducted many midnight therapy sessions with glazed goods.

Doughnut: "Dr. Phil, I can't shake this feeling that you're about to eat me."

You: "I am going to eat you, Doughnut. And do you know why? Because you're delicious and you're weak."

Without a Trace Betting Game!

This is stolen from teevee.org--linky here.

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The 'Without a Trace' Betting Game

by Lisa Schmeiser — January 10, 6:20 PM

We are big fans of Without A Trace in the Schmeiser-Michaels household. Insofar as procedural dramas goes, this one tends to be well-written, well-acted and beautifully shot and directed. It’s one of the better shows on network television, and it’s one of the few that’s remained at a consistently high quality year in and year out.

However, we are prone to letting episodes pile up on the TiVo because in addition to being very well-written and well-acted and well-shot, Without A Trace is also very depressing. Any given episode includes things like tragic murders, tragic deaths or tragic comeuppances which prompt a death wish on someone’s part. Invariably, the theme of the episode is “Once people discover your secrets, your life might as well be over.” After an episode last season in which the missing woman (Elizabeth Pena) was shot by her brother, thus leaving her foster children to the vagaries of the social services, I curled up in the fetal position on the floor and refused to watch our remaining Without A Trace stockpile until the urge to end it all passed.

Fortunately, the Schmeiser-Michaels household has come up with a solution for TV drama trauma. Because TV drinking games are so dreadfully ubiquitous, we have elected not to go that route. Instead, we’re turning to the vice of gambling. The rules are simple: before starting an episode of Without A Trace, turn to the other habitues of your gambling parlor — or living room, whatever — and ask the money question: “Alive or dead?” People state their options and lay down their money. At the end of the episode, at least one viewer will be happy.

If this simple wagering is too easy for you — after all, it is akin to betting on a coin flip — you can always make the rules more complicated. Some suggestions below:

WIN — This is simple: is the missing person dead or alive?

PLACE — Is the missing person dead or alive? Which one of the FBI agents is the primary one to take the case personally?

SHOW — Is the missing person dead or alive? Which one of the FBI agents is the primary one to take the case personally? In what specific manner will this case advance their characterization? Note: this is a tough one to take if it looks like Viv is going to crack the case, since she’s the sole person on the crew with a functioning home life, and that bum ticker looks to be cleared up. Fortunately, since Viv rarely gets the same type of attention on the show that Danny, Sam or Jack do, you may never have this problem.

QUINELLA — Is the missing person dead or alive? Identify the two FBI agents who are going to be at the dramatic reveal of the Dead or Alive. Note: this is a bet you have to make only if everyone in the pool’s completely unspoiled. This way, nobody can use their TiVo episode guide to cheat and predict a Danny/Viv episode in which Danny reaches out to a troubled youth after his missing mentor is found dead.

PERFECTA — Is the missing person dead or alive? Identify the two two-agent teams who will make the most significant case-cracking, in order of their significant contributions. Note: this is a good sweeps-episode bet to make, even if the payoff’s small, since those episodes lend themselves well to the six primary characters splitting off into all sorts of teams. It doesn’t pay well, though.

TRIFECTA — Is the missing person dead or alive? Identify the two two-agent teams who will make the most significant case-cracking, no order needed. But also identify the exact issue we’ll see in the episode: love life issues, Daddy Didn’t Love Me issues or God, I’m Incompetent, Aren’t I? issues.

SUPERFECTA — Dead or alive? Name the working duos in the episode and correctly rank the significance of their contributions on the case. Then identify the issue the dominant investigating teams will grapple with in the case: love life issues, Daddy Didn’t Love Me issues or God, I’m Incompetent, Aren’t I? issues.

DAILY DOUBLE — Use this whenever you’re watching two episodes: correctly predict the Dead or Alive answer for each. You do have a one-in-four shot of being right. Note: this bet is invalid in any to-be-continued episode set.

PICK THREE — Perfect for sweeps! Call the Dead or Alive question for the next three episodes. You do have a one-in-eight shot of getting it right. Note: this bet is invalid in any to-be-continued episode set.

Once you have money riding on the outcome of the episode, you’re far less likely to be rendered catatonic by an unbearably poignant and/or tragic ending. Instead, you may be annoyed at losing your $20 or you may be inappropriately elated at the episode’s outcome, but really, aren’t those better than moping? We certainly think so.

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