Saturday, September 30, 2017

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Cloudbusted

Personalized junk mail! Nice try, Kia West Edmonton, but no, I'm not trading in my car for the sake of having a newer model. I will drive it until it wears out. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Genocide in the Catacombs

I have locked myself in the bathroom, leaning hard against the bucking door. The two blonde thugs on the other side are doing their best to kick it down with their jackbooted feet. It is my last, desperate stand.

Inevitably, my strength gives way. I hop backwards, raising my hands in surrender as the door bursts open. One of the thugs, sneering, preppie-menacing in a white cardigan, grabs me by the upper arm and hauls me through the living room and out of the apartment, into the great underground concrete warrens I call home.

The second fascist is uniformed and rigidly formal. There is a lovely young woman with long brown hair waiting in the corridor; she’s frightened, and looks like she wants to flee. But the uniformed fascist hands her a large glass beaker, the size of a full-grown pumpkin; it’s filled with swirling, cloudy green gas. He orders the woman to take it down a short flight of steps to a furnace room. We follow, and the fascist in the white sweater directs the woman to pour the gas into an empty brick fireplace that’s connected to the air vents.

I suddenly realize what’s happening. “That’s nerve gas, you fools!” I scream. “You’ll kill us all!”

Already the young woman spasms in agony, her eyes wide, terrified, as she’s enveloped in the deadly cloud. I sprint away in a blind panic, expecting the fascists to give chase, but they only smile knowingly, not caring as they disappear into the spreading cloud of mist. I dart into a supply room and hastily cover myself in the blue fluid that offers some minimal protection from nerve gas, but I know it won’t be enough, and I charge down the corridors looking for an exit. Around me people gasp and stagger and fall as they’re overcome.

There! A ladder to the surface. I grab hold of the rungs and start to climb, but it’s too late; my vision flashes blue and green, and every muscle seizes up at once. Everything goes black, and I awaken into the darkness of our bedroom, wide-eyed. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Discovering Discovery

WARNING
SPOILERS for the first two episodes of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY

After a dozen years, Star Trek returned to television last night in its newest incarnation, Star Trek: Discovery. Set ten years before the events of the original television series, Discovery is the story of Michael Burnham, (Sonequa Martin-Green), a Starfleet officer and orphan raised on Vulcan by none other than Sarek (James Frain), father of Spock.

When we're introduced to Burnham in the first episode, "The Vulcan Hello," she's serving as the First Officer of the USS Shenzhou under Captain Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh). After rescuing some friendly crab-like aliens from a drought, the Shenzou is tasked with investigating a malfunctioning relay beacon at the edge of Federation space. When Burnham discovers the cause of the malfunction and the familiar aliens behind it, the stage is set for what I assume will be the series' first-season arc: war with the Klingons, reimagined here as a brutish "Make America Great Again" analogue.

The two-part opener (comprised of "The Vulcan Hello" and "Battle at the Binary Stars" gets the show off to a strong start. While burdened with some clunky exposition, moments of stilted line delivery, and one eye-rolling moment in the pre-credits teaser, Star Trek: Discovery succeeds where it counts, telling an interesting, meaningful story with flawed but sympathetic characters. Burnham makes a series of serious mistakes that arguably cost a great number of lives--and she faces believable consequences for her actions. The Klingons have an understandable motive for their actions, and they have depth; these aren't cookie-cutter cartoon villains. The supporting characters are well drawn, with the alien Saru (Doug Jones) a real standout.

As is usually the case with Star Trek shows, production design, costuming and special effects are all state-of-the-art for the era. The opening credit sequence is quite handsome and a real departure from those that preceded it.

Perhaps most importantly, the show takes chances. The two opening hours end without a trace of the titular USS Discovery or most of the show's main cast. Presumably they'll be introduced next week, in episode three, "Context is for Kings." Instead of a traditional pilot episode, we're given what amounts to two hours of backstory--but entertaining backstory it is, and should, in theory, add resonance to the show's first season arc.

Given the show's behind-the-scenes production drama and the involvement of Akiva Goldsman, my expectations for Star Trek: Discovery were very low. But I find myself pleasantly surprised. It's too early to say whether or not this will reach the heights of the original series, The Next Generation, or Deep Space Nine, I think it's safe to say it's already off to a more promising start than Voyager or Enterprise

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Autumnal Geekquinox 2017

Yesterday Pete, with Ellen's sterling assistance, brought us yet another moutwatering, belly-bursting Geekquinox feast. "I can't break away!"...from the table, because I'm stuffed to the brink of drooling unconsciousness.
This is candied bacon, with brown sugar and a hint of heat. I've been somewhat skeptical regarding the candied bacon trend, but it works - this went down very smoothly.
I love seafood and I love bacon, so I wound up downing three or four of these delectable bacon-wrapped shrimp. Utterly heavenly.
The chili verde was my favourite dish; it was incredibly savoury, with generous chunks of tender pork. I may actually ask Pete for the recipe; I love this stuff so much that I'm motivated to try to cook it myself, since I can't very well ask Pete to come over and cook it for me once or twice a week.
A Facebook request from Sylvia, though she didn't know it, inspired Pete to create these remarkable prosciutto potato roses. Actually, maybe this was my favourite dish...no, the chili. But it's close.
I was too busy gulping down the main course to get a photo. For the record, it consisted of porchetta (very, very tender pork belly with some sort of incredible stuffing) bacon mashed potatoes (too delicious by half), grilled cabbage (surprisingly excellent), and green beans with...some kind of pork I can't remember. In lieu of dinner, here's a shot of dessert: ice cream with chocolate sauce, maple bacon and homemade toffee. The homemade toffee alone was delectable, but in combination with all this--exquisite.

Another incredible meal, another great evening with a group of dear friends. Thanks again, Pete and Ellen! As ever, I am amazed by your dedication and near-insane level of commitment to this event. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Mirror Maniac in Colour

Today I painted my custom Mirror Maniac figure, my avatar for my adventures in the four-colour world of Villains & Vigilantes. As you can see, my brushwork is a little, er, crude. But at least it looks better than the unpainted original...I think? Argh, the flesh paint is pouring over his mirrorshades.
Here's the rear view. I tried to colour the shield so as to look wooden, but with metal parts. Results: decidedly mixed.

I'm actually happier with the Zeppelin in the background; that's a game piece from my copy of Fortune & Glory, a board game. Mind you, it was a lot easier to paint. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Primed for Painting

Tomorrow, I will finally prime the many board game and RPG miniatures I've accumulated over the years. Then, I shall attempt to paint them, the better to create a sense of immersion while I game. Stay tuned for the results! 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Another Lost Video Project

Another two hours lost trying to create a video for the blog. I've tried to have fun editing video for years, but only rarely does the software - and I've tried many, many kinds of software - cooperate. Usually, my computer crashes and loses all of my work, as it's done yet again tonight. Tons and tons of raw footage and nothing to show for it because of this persistent curse.

Blogging while angry again. Never a good idea. Does anyone know of PC video editing software that can handle multiple file formats and WON'T CRASH? I bought a high-end computer precisely so I could do this stuff. ARRGGHHHHH.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Earl's ABCs


In 1971, Mom used our reel-to-reel audio tape recorder to capture my three-year-old voice. You can hear mom suppressing a laugh when I clearly fail to understand that she wants me to count to ten, but I make up for this initial obliviousness by making it all the way up into the teens. A somewhat garbled recitation of the ABCs follows, and then Mom asks me what I want for Christmas. "The aiport," I answer. I think I must have been talking about the Fisher-Price airport toy, which I did indeed receive, and loved. Thanks, Mom and Dad! 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Search My Blog!


Did you know that Blogger includes a search function? I just discovered it now, despite having curated this blog for...zounds, over a decade! You can search The Earliad by typing your search terms into the little window in the upper-left corner of your browser, as illustrated above. This'll make it easier for me when I'm attempting to follow up on old posts!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

All About Alliums

At least, I think these are alliums. Shot at Hole's, St. Albert, Alberta, 1998. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Mirror Maniac

This is a plastic 30mm representation of my Villains & Vigilantes hero, the Mirror Maniac. He started out by calling himself Mirror Man, but his penchant for laughing at violent pratfalls during battle led the media to add the extra syllable. 

This is the first thing I've ever had 3D-printed; I used Hero Forge to design the character, and then the company printed and shipped it. I'll paint it soon. 

The Mirror Maniac is so named because of his ability to reflect the attacks of others right back at them, and his secondary ability to shape-shift, with perfect fidelity, into a wide range of inanimate objects. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Earl's Film World

Here's the last of the stats Letterboxd Pro currently tracks - a world map that reveals how many films you've seen by country of production. Unfortunately, the map includes a whole bunch of Hollywood films that had elements of production taking place outside the USA, which makes it look like I've had a lot more exposure to world cinema than it would first appear. I have seen my fair share of legitimately British, Japanese, Indian, French and German films, but this map should be taken with a grain of salt. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Earl's Directors

According to Letterboxd, this is my list of most-watched directors. Having watched all but one of Charlie Chaplin's many films, it's no surprise that he's at the top. But who is William K.L. Dickson, you ask? He's one of the pioneers of film, and as I've been watching a bunch of films from the early days of the medium, folks like Dickson, Georges Melies, Louis Lumiere and William Heise wind up on my list. Of course, a bunch of their films are only a few minutes, or even just a few seconds, long.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Stars in My Eyes

Letterboxd Pro tracks the films I watch, and from that database it's generated a list of my most-watched actors. I'm dismayed that there are only two women and one actor of colour on the list, but I'm unsurprised by the rest of the tally, save perhaps for the inclusion of Dick Miller, who as it turns out was in a bunch of 80s genre films I've seen. (In fact, I've actually seen 25 of his films - reviewing his list of credits reveals that I forgot to log InnerSpace, which I saw in theatres way back in 1987. It's these haphazard connections that have helped me make my Letterboxd inventory more accurate as time goes by.)

I didn't recognize Bess Flowers when Letterboxd first generated this list. As it turns out, she's one of Hollywood's most prolific actresses, appearing in over 700 films, including 23 Best Picture nominees, five of which won the award. Bess probably appears on a lot of Most Watched Stars list for this reason - if you're a film fan, it seems you can hardly avoid her. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Life in Film: Genres and List Progress

A few days ago, I wrote about my Letterboxd Pro subscription and the cool stats it generates about my film-viewing habits. This is another set of my Letterboxd data: my genre, country of origin, and language breakdown, my progress on some notable lists, and my most-watched films, which comes with a huge caveat I'll explain below.

Friends of mine might be surprised that science fiction isn't at the top of my genre list, and indeed I'm surprised that it manages to rank only fourth. However, I don't know how Letterboxd assigns genres to films - there could very well be a number of films I would call miscategorized - and given my proclivity for attempting to watch all the films of certain directors like Hitchcock and Chaplin, who produced very little SFnal content, the results start to make a little more sense.

I seem to be doing pretty well on most of the lists Letterboxd deems important, though I clearly need to catch up with Sight & Sound's top 250, one of the most important of the film crit lists. I'd never heard of Edgar Wright's 1,000 favourites before these statistics were generated, but apparently I've seen nearly half of his choices.

The "Most Watched" list is only as good as the data any given user inputs, and even I'm not crazy enough to log every single instance of every film I've ever watched. I'll log re-watches now, of course, but I've resisted the temptation to go back and try to reconstruct every single time I watched Star Wars, for example.

The five films you see on this list are there because once I saw the data was being generated, I figured I may as well try to nudge it in a reasonably accurate direction. For example, I know I've seen Star Trek: The Motion Picture:


  • During its original run
  • At the Paramount Theatre during the 1991 Sit Long and Prosper event
  • When it was first released on VHS
  • When it was released again on VHS in a box set with the other films
  • When it was first released on DVD
  • When it the Director's Cut was released on DVD
  • When it was released on Blu-Ray
Of course I watched the VHS tape many times in the 80s, and I've seen the DVDs more than once. The same is true for the other films in this section. But trying to reconstruct this particular movie ephemera is hardly worth the effort. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Return of Villains & Vigilantes

Some months ago, Sean and I and Jeff and Jeremiah Pitts supported a Kickstarter for the third edition of Villains & Vigilantes, a game we'd all enjoyed back in the - gulp - 1980s. Last night we gathered, along with Jeff's son Connor, for the first game of V&V we'd played in many years, save for a short one-off adventure back in 2007, part of my bachelor party. My character, seen here in the foreground, is the Mirror Maniac, a young man with reflective powers and the ability to turn himself into different inanimate objects. (I'm using a HeroClix Invisible Kid to stand in for my character while I await my custom-built miniature in the mail.)

Last night's short adventure saw the four of us attempt to stop a robbery on Whyte Avenue. I was in my civilian identity, shopping at Chapter's, when the call for help rang out. I quickly changed into my costume and dashed across the street--but I failed to look both ways, and was hit by a passing car. I was flung 30 feet and lost six hit points. It was an ignominious debut for the Mirror Maniac, but we managed to capture the villains and recover the artifact they'd attempted to steal. Huzzah! 

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Some More Thoughts on Twin Peaks: The Return

WARNING: SPOILERS FOR SEASON THREE OF 
TWIN PEAKS

In my last post about the return of Twin Peaks, I neglected to mention some of the factors that contributed to my admiration for the third season:


  • Each episode completely captured my attention, holding me riveted to the screen. It's been ages since any television show achieved that feat. 
  • Miraculously, the production team kept the show's secrets held very close; no episodes were spoiled. 
  • I never knew what was coming next. Having watched countless hours of film and television, I've gotten very good at spotting formulas and predicting character and story arcs well before their conclusion. I utterly failed to predict anything about Twin Peaks
  • I didn't dare hope for it, but Major Briggs' beautiful vision about Bobby's future from season two actually played out in season three. Bobby's redemption and growth were beautiful to see. 
  • I absolutely love that several important characters from the show's first two seasons had pivotal roles to play in the unfolding of season three, particularly Deputy Andy, probably my second-favourite character, who has a great extended moment in one of the later episodes. 
  • I loved the many touches of quirky, absurdist humour, most especially Sheriff Truman's pop-up wooden computer and Carl Rodd's superheroic action van. 
  • Episode 8, in which Lynch and Frost take the audience inside a nuclear explosion to witness the birth of evil, is perhaps the most insane and spectacular thing I've ever seen on television.
  • This season of Twin Peaks frankly captures the passage of time and refuses to gloss over its impact on the aging original cast. How could we ever have expected Dale Cooper to just pop out of limbo and join his law enforcement buddies as if only days had passed? He spent 25 years in there, while in the outside world people got old, died, or otherwise moved on. It's easy enough to wonder why Donna Hayward, for example, rated not a single mention on the show (save for one line of dialogue in archival footage), considering her importance in seasons one and two. But there's a simple explanation: she left Twin Peaks behind and built a new life. 
  • Perhaps most importantly, I appreciated the show's unflinching refusal to compromise its own artistic integrity. There were no easy solutions or lazy storytelling choices to be found, even when making the hard choices upset the audience, including me. 
Twin Peaks can be utterly confounding, baffling, frustrating. But it is, without question, a singular work of art that people will be debating for a long time to come. I'm just grateful it exists, and that I lived to see it return. 

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

A Life in Film...So Far

About a year ago, I signed up for a Letterboxd account to track the films I've seen, from the first film I saw as a toddler (to the best of my recollection) to today. More recently, I shelled out a few dollars for a Letterboxd Pro account, which adds some cool features including year-by-year stats. Here's a sampling of my all-time stats as of today: 3,727 films from 1,736 directors in 58 countries. My highest rated decades are the 1930s, 1940s and 2000s.

I also found it interesting that I've seen more films from 1984 than any other year, and that 2016 comes in at a close second. 

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

The Best Pictures 2016 Update

It's been a while since I last wrote about my quest to see every single film nominated for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) Best Picture award, and I've made a lot of progress since that last update.

1920s/1930s
66 of 103 nominees: 64%

Missing
Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness
The Crowd
Alibi
The Hollywood Revue of 1929
The Patriot (lost film, so I'll never really finish this list)
All Quiet on the Western Front
Disraeli
East Lynne
The Front Page
Trader Horn
One Hour with You
A Farewell to Arms
Smilin' Through
The Barretts of Wimpole Street
Flirtation Walk
Imitation of Love
One Night of Love
The White Parade
Alice Adams
Broadway Melody of 1936
The Lives of a Bengal Lancer
Les Miserables (1935)
Naughty Marietta
The Great Ziegfield
Romeo and Juliet (1936)
The Story of Louis Pasteur
A Tale of Two Cities
Three Smart Girls
Dead End
One Hundred Men and a Girl
A Star is Born
Alexander's Ragtime Band
The Citadel
Four Daughters
Jezebel
Test Pilot
Love Affair

1940s
41 of 70 nominees: 59%

Missing
The Letter
Blossoms in the Dust
Here Comes Mr. Jordan
Hold Back the Dawn
One Foot in Heaven
Kings Row
The Pied Piper
Random Harvest
The Talk of the Town
Wake Island
The Human Comedy
Madame Curie
The More the Merrier
The Song of Bernadette
Watch on the Rhine
Since You Went Away
Wilson
Anchors Aweigh
Mildred Pierce
The Best Years of Our Lives
Henry V
The Razor's Edge
The Yearling
The Bishop's Wife
Johnny Belinda
The Red Shoes
The Snake Pit
The Heiress
Twelve O'Clock High

1950s
35 of 50 nominees: 70%

Missing
Born Yesterday
Decision before Dawn
Quo Vadis
Ivanhoe
Moulin Rouge (1952)
Julius Caesar
The Country Girl
Love is a Many-Splendored Thing
Friendly Persuasion
The King and I
Peyton Place
Gigi
Auntie Mame
Separate Tables
Anatomy of a Murder

1960s
38 of 50 nominees: 76%

Missing
Sons and Lovers
Fanny
The Hustler
America America
Cleopatra (1963)
Lilies of the Field
My Fair Lady
Becket
Zorba the Greek
Darling
Ship of Fools
A Thousand Clowns
The Sand Pebbles

1970s
45 of 50 nominees: 90%

Missing
Love Story
The Godfather Part II
Nashville
Bound for Glory
The Goodbye Girl

1980s
42 of 50 nominees: 84%

Missing
Reds
The Color Purple
Prizzi's Honor
The Mission
The Last Emperor
Broadcast News
Hope and Glory
Moonstruck

1990s
47 of 50 nominees: 94%

Missing
Dances with Wolves
The Godfather Part III
Braveheart

2000s
50 of 55 nominees: 91%

Missing
Gosford Park
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Finding Neverland
Goodnight, and Good Luck
Munich

2010s (so far)
62 of 62 nominees: 100%

Total
425 of 540 nominees: 78.7%

115 films to go!

So far this year I've watched 35 Best Picture nominees. Of those, my favourite is the deservedly acclaimed French masterpiece La Grande Illusion (Grand Illusion, 1937), a World War I drama by Jean Renoir; the most forgettable may be Here Comes the Navy (Lloyd Bacon, 1934), a pretty standard romantic comedy set, somewhat chillingly knowing its eventual fate, aboard the USS Arizona.

As you can see, most of the gaps I have to fill come in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and 1980s. Still, I have most of the missing films on Blu-Ray, DVD, or my PVR (thanks, Turner Classic Movies)! I'm betting I can finish this list (excepting, of course, lost nominee The Patriot) by the end of the 20teens.



Monday, September 04, 2017

That Gum I Like Never Went Out of Style



WARNING: SPOILERS ABOUND FOR THE THIRD SEASON OF TWIN PEAKS

Last night, Sean and I watched, bewildered, as David Lynch and Mark Frost stayed true to their most genuine and frustrating form, refusing to provide Twin Peaks audiences with closure and instead ending the series - probably forever - on a shriek of confused, helpless horror.

Like Sean, I was disappointed by what felt like a meandering and almost cruel final hour, especially after the tease of the penultimate episode, which seemed to promise a reasonably happy, if strange, ending for characters I've loved for nearly 30 years. In that second-to-last hour, our heroes converge on Twin Peaks to rid the world of the malevolence of BOB. It's as funny, surreal, and thrilling as anything in Lynch's ouvre - but it's not enough. Dale Cooper, aided by the mysterious figures of the White Lodge, travels back in time in an effort to prevent poor, sad, lost Laura Cooper from being murdered on the fateful day of February 23, 1989. And at first, it seems to have worked. But just as Dale is leading Laura home to her mother, she slips from his grasp, vanishing with a scream, presumably whisked away by Judy, the Mother of Evil. And this is where the show failed for me last night on an emotional level - but with the benefit of a night's sleep and some difficult reflection, I have to admit that the last hour of Twin Peaks is thematically consistent and supports a dark, difficult vision that I didn't want to recognize on first viewing.

It's pointless to summarize the plot of the final hour, except to say that Dale never gives up trying to save Laura, and that is what dooms him. He finds himself, apparently, in a Texas of a different time, or a parallel world, or perhaps just a different dream state; in any event, gone is the confident, pure-hearted FBI agent we saw return so briefly in episodes 16 and 17. In the final act, Cooper is adrift, he's given a different name, and he's lost much of his joy. He uses excessive force on a trio of goons, holds an innocent at gunpoint, and shows not a flicker of delight when presented with a cup of coffee. He's not evil, but he's not the same man we knew and loved. (How could he be, after all he's experienced?) In this reality, in fact, he seems to be Richard, a callback to the very first moments of this season, in which the Giant and Dale converse in the White Lodge.

Cooper finds Laura, though she doesn't seem to think she really is Laura at all, but a woman named Carrie Page. She agrees to go with him to Twin Peaks anyway, as things seem to be bad for her here; there's a recently-murdered body in her house. Even after Dale has supposedly saved her, it appears Laura can never escape violence and darkness.

Much of the episode is spent on the long drive from Odessa, Texas, to Twin Peaks. There's barely any conversation; at one point, Carrie wonders if they're being followed, but the anonymous headlights of the vehicle behind them merely pass by.

Eventually, Dale and Carrie arrive in Twin Peaks, which is strangely devoid of traffic, though the episode doesn't call attention to this. They park in front of the Palmer home, and Dale, still intent on a quest that should have ended 25 years ago, insists on knocking on the front door and delivering Laura home.

But Sarah Palmer doesn't answer the door. It's a woman we've never seen before: Alice Tremond. Confused, Cooper wonders if they bought the house recently from someone else - the Palmers, he's certainly thinking. But the homeowner says she bought the house from Mrs. Chalfont...who, fans will remember, was the strange woman who lived with her grandson above the evil convenience store of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. Cooper and Carrie walk back across the street. But after a moment of though, Cooper suddenly asks "What year is it?" And then someone - presumably Sarah Palmer - screams "LAURA!" from inside the house. Carrie screams, and I think this is where she realizes who she really is and the awful fate that's in store for her. She's awakened to the horror of her new reality, and her terrorized cries reverberate as the lights of the Palmer house flicker off, plunging all into darkness; roll credits.

Though presented obliquely, like much of Twin Peaks, the plot is really pretty simple after all; Judy, the Mother of Evil, won't let Laura go, perhaps, as revealed earlier, because Laura is the embodiment or avatar of good in the universe, as shown earlier this season. Dale Cooper is, perhaps, her White Lodge-appointed guardian, and has been all along.

Even before this finale, I realized that this third and final season of Twin Peaks was rich with layered commentary on the state of the world as it is today, as it was in some imagined Golden Age, and the nature of artistic creation itself. For example, throughout this season, Lynch and Frost teased their audience with meandering scenes of hyper-reality that seemed to have little purpose. To wit: several minutes spent watching a nameless custodian sweep the floor of the Roadhouse, the finale's endless scenes of night driving, side conversations from several characters about trivia that leads nowhere, the false foreshadowing of a young woman's underarm rash, Big Ed drinking coffee in his garage. These moments stand in stark contrast with the many episodes of horror, violence, hilarity and surreal quirkiness that define the show. I believe Lynch and Frost deliberately create this contrast to make their audiences squirm, to force us to feel the discomfort and loss of control that the characters in the show feel.

In the real world, nothing makes sense; only in constructed drama do stories pan out neatly, with satisfying conclusions and narrative closure. For all its madness, Twin Peaks is, in this way, perhaps the most realistic story ever told on television. We, the audience, feel like we deserve, if not happy endings, then at least some kind of ending we can understand and put in a comfortable box. I'll admit that I was, even if unconsciously, hoping for that, too, last night. I didn't get it, and I was disappointed.

But on reflection, even though I was hoping for better days for Dale Cooper and his friends, I realize that would have been somewhat cheap, and perhaps even monstrous in light of what I think Lynch and Frost are really trying to communicate: evil is forever with us, but we fight it anyway, with love, even if in the end it's hopeless.

Twin Peaks is full of warmth and love, even in the midst of unspeakable horror and tragedy. The show is full of people of genuine goodness, epitomized by Dale Cooper and his fellow agents in the FBI and by Sheriff Truman and his deputies in Twin Peaks. Even the show's villains, from BOB on down, are sympathetic in some way; troubled pasts are inferred, and even BOB himself didn't ask to be born; as revealed in this season's mind-blowing episode 8, human beings, through the atomic bomb, unleashed BOB and his cohorts into the world. BOB and Judy are forces of nature as much as they are villains.

But the suffering they cause is all too real. Laura Palmer's long arc of horrifying inevitability is all the more heartbreaking with the show's final revelation: Laura is doomed, was always doomed, is forever doomed, despite the valiant efforts of all the good people who try to help her.

And yet those good people keep trying, even after she's died.

It's possible that I'm rationalizing the finale somewhat, that I've overthought the ending to compensate or wish away my initial disappointment. I hope that's not true, because the disappointment is still there, but I've shifted the blame to my own perceptions rather than perceived deficiencies in the work. I think it's important to remember, too, that all along I've been utterly delighted by this third remarkable season; I admire its determination not to pander to a nostalgic audience, to create an entirely different sort of television show. Say what you will, but there is nothing else on TV like this, and maybe there never will be again.

When Twin Peaks went off the air back in 1990, I was rueful. In just a few months, that show became as important to me, if not more so, than Star Trek, not just as television entertainment, but as a lens through which to make sense of a troubled world. I never expected it to return, and I regard this season as a tremendous gift. It will haunt me for a long time.


Sunday, September 03, 2017

How's Annie?

I'm not necessarily asking for closure, but...ouch, David and Mark. Really?

More thoughts tomorrow. 

Saturday, September 02, 2017

The Frustration of Lost Projects

I just spend the last two hours editing a new short video for tonight's blog post, and my computer crashed and erased all of my work. Now I am angry. Never blog while angry, and never ignore your own advice.

I was pretty happy with it, too. Insert cursing here. jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj