Skarka, with the assist….

Back at the end of November, John Tynes posted a link to part one of a fascinating article about bizarre happenings on a Nevada ranch.

As I was wandering around the corners of my laptop today, I found a note to myself to remember to hunt down the second installment. Tynes never posted a follow-up link, so, for those who were interested, here is the second and final part of that story. Bizarre stuff.

Christmas was good. We got about a foot of snow, which made for a pretty day, perfect for staying inside and drinking home-made mead (go, me). We head out to Long Island this weekend to make a brief round of the extended family, and then it’s back to work.

I love this holiday. Folks often ask me why, given the fact that I am not remotely Christian. I usually respond with the following quote from Dickens, which I find sums it up for me nicely:

“There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,” returned the nephew: “Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round — apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that — as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”

Merry Christmas.


Wow…two posts in one day. You’re gonna get spoiled.

Don’t get to fluffed up about it. It’s only one of those blog-meme things, which I spotted recently over on Bruce Baugh’s weblog, and thought it looked like fun.

Last Book You Read: The Club Dumas by Arturo PĂ©rez-Reverte

Last Movie You Saw: John Carpenter’s The Prince of Darkness, which is on Scifi as I type this.

Last Movie You Saw on the Big Screen: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, at a midnight premiere this morning (see review below).

Last Phone Number You Called: Mom and Dad

Last Show You Watched on TV: CBS Evening News (unless you count the movie I listed above)

Last Song You Heard: Tainted Love, by Soft Cell

Last Thing You Had to Drink:: Coca-Cola

Last Thing You Ate: Wise “Ridgies” Sour Cream and Onion Potato Chips.

Last Time You Showered: 8:00 a.m.

Last Time You Cried: Last night, after an argument with my daughter.

Last Time You Smiled: Just now.

Last Time You Laughed: During The Two Towers. “Don’t tell the elf.”

Last Person You Hugged: My fiancee, Laura.

Last Person You Talked to Online: Not counting forum posts or email, it would be Jurgen Mayer from Disaster Machine, earlier this evening.

Last Person You Talked to on the Phone: One of my daughter’s friends, who called while Allie and Laura are out shopping.

Last Thing You Smelled: My Christmas tree.

There ya go, kids. Meaningless web minutia. Knock yerselves out.


The Ubiquitous The Two Towers Review

Another midnight premiere, another year wait to come.

There is really nothing I can say at this point that won’t be echoed in a million blogs and quickly become another Accepted Commandment of Fan-Geek Orthodoxy…but it’s impossible to remain completely silent.

Saying that this film is as good as or better than the first installment doesn’t sound quite right. It’s somehow not right to use phrases like “the first installment”…With the release of THE TWO TOWERS, it becomes more evident that THE LORD OF THE RINGS, like Tolkien’s novel, is a uniform work–a single film broken by neccessity into three releases. This doesn’t feel like “the second film” or “part 2”. This feels like more of the same–and in the best way possible.

Everything you’ve heard is true. Helms Deep is incredible, the production design for the Rohirrim is breathtaking, the Ents are believable, and if the Academy doesn’t nominate Andy Serkis and the WETA digital team a combined nomination for Best Supporting Actor then something is seriously wrong with the world.

The editing is a bit awkward at times, leading to some uneven pacing…but given the structure of the original novel, Jackson & Co. have done an amazing job with what they’ve had to work with. The script falls down occasionally as well, most notably with an over-reliance on Gimli as comic relief and some speeches which are just a bit too self-aware (notably Sam’s “great stories” monologue)–but really, pointing out these faults leaves the bad taste of nit-picking in my mouth, because everything else in the film works so perfectly.

Only another 11 months and 29 days to go.