15 September 2008

here, it's almost like we're blessed...

I've just returned from an extended weekend away with Elica's family for Chuseok, which I've (probably erroneously) been describing as sort of a Korean version of Dia de los Muertos except in daylight and with soju. Whatever, a holiday's a holiday- and a holiday with huge meals, practical religiosity and a large amount of naptime is definitely good with me.

Asides from the fact that now I have to actually go back to work to earn my bread bibimbap I think I've found my way back to believing in the heady concept of pronoia (the idea of the universe is conspiring to shower you with good things), which really is a bit of a relief after the annoying twist that life was taking last week. Various things ought to have gone badly lately, and yet they someone haven't.

After the incident with Tanky, his Wifey and their poster I was a little worried about work, since I really didn't want to have to deal with him and his insanity. I managed to avoid him almost all week, often utilising some of my reserve store of extremely bitchy behaviour such as point blank ignoring him when he's speaking to me, but really what else can one do in response to a person who tries to maintain a conversation with someone who's in bed in the dark with the covers over their head, facing away and making conspicuously loud snoring noises? I was gratified to discover that basically everyone else at work hates him too, I didn't even have to whip up a frenzy of hatred (except with Freemason who has somehow magically managed to avoid conversation with the idiot, but he was willing to detest him vicariously) since his penchant for being inconsiderate and pompous converted everyone. Though when Ruby, Minievil (who was briefly back in Seoul, only to be shipped out to Japan and now LA on a visa quest) and I returned from lunch last Monday Tanky promptly presented me with a Homer Simpson doll of my very own! There's absolutely no way to respond to an "I'm sorry that I'm a complete weirdo, and that you got involved in a very weird dispute about a poster" gift, and it gets even more confusing when you're intent on maintaining a rude and discouraging attitude, so I just went to sleep instead.

I've had the opportunity to sleep at work a lot of late, thanks to a schedule shift which made Ruby my partner and brought her onto my (block) shift- meaning that she no longer has most of the students she had before. Since she sucks completely and utterly she's abandoning us next month to be with her annoying beau Bo in NY, and then possibly returning to "Chonto". This does mean that she's not angling for a sensible amount of students however, and she's willing to let her booking rate slide down to subterranean levels. I'm not sure what's going to happen to me next month though when I get another new partner- let's all just hope and pray that I don't get moved onto the split shift!

All this free time has been very beneficial for my well being, in that I can go out and get pissed and then spend all the work day recovering in bed at work instead of dying in my lessons staring blearily at my students and groping desperately for my can of Dr Pepper. Last Monday was great because Elica and I headed to noribang and sang, or rather screamed, all our troubles away! Normally I don't really like karaoke/noribang, but I think I finally understand the point of it after getting so frustrated by the existence of Tanky and his insaniac wife. It is great to have, in Elica, someone who lived in England (and for much of that time in London) around a lot. It sounds silly but it really does make a difference when the vast majority of the ex-pats/freeloaders are North Americans, and American English is the predominant vernacular taught, spoken and understood. I think that's part of why I immediately got on so well with Aryan and (Kiwi) Baker, as well as the Irish boys- it's a little thing but it definitely makes a difference. Elica and I have our own "code" of British slang and insults that puzzles the others- to our delight, and I break out laughing every time she accidentally calls Seoul's subway "the Tube".

She's also one of the few people I know here who'd chose Britpop (Beautiful Ones by Suede in this case) at noribang, and I have to say that our primal scream therapy session seriously worked- due in part to some of my inspired choices. Sadly many of said wonderful gems have slipped just past my haze of remembrance, but I do recollect Fernando by ABBA, Shout by Tears for Fears and Jambalaya (The Carpenters' version for some reason, but I persisted in doing a Hank Williams "impression") being fantastic. Later on that night at Bumpin' Bendy filled us up with booze which he alternated between gifting to us and getting other patrons to pay for. He then let me DJ again, which isn't necessarily something that a sane person wants to do. I was very happy to discover, and inflict, both Jambalaya (this time the proper version) and Mrs Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter (three guesses as to my mother's name, and the first two don't count).

Getting to work extremely hungover and sleep deprived only to discover you've got several hours before you're expected to do anything is a wonderful feeling. When it's accompanied by the slight annoyance of your MP3 player battery running low it is made a billion times better by your new (60GB!) iRiver having arrived in the office (thanks to a wonderful shiny boyfriend).

It left me feeling the pronoia vibe to levels pretty much beyond belief... Of course said MP3 player had to be a bitch and fuck around not behave (her/it/his?)-self properly but I've ironed out most of the kinks, and think I should be able to get everything working smoothly. Eventually.

I even had time to watch a film at work the other day (although in retrospect maybe I should have just collapsed into bed since the sleep deprivation hit me hard later). Although I did watch a good solid chunk of The Experiment (a German film based on Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiment that seemed pretty good and I would like to watch it in full at some point, even if it did dredge up memories of an exceptionally dull A Level in Psychology) with 2.0 when he still worked there, and FYI my company really needs to improve its security- I can barely turn around without tripping over a former employee, the unreliable nature of the torrents and the evil interventions of Computer Guy means that actually getting to watch your downloads at work is by no means guaranteed. Wow, that sentence was way too long but I simply cannot be bothered to edit it. Ho-hum. Anyway I was pretty excited when I got to watch Slither.

Slither being a ridiculously cheesy horror movie from '06 (fun fact though: apparently it was only released in Korea very recently, so I'm actually kind of with the times, even if I didn't know it), which I think would usually be more Lyca's cup of tea than mine but James Gunn had obviously realised that if you want to get me to watch something there's a few ways that rarely fail- and one of them is a Buffy alum. Nathan Fillion not only fits that criteria but he's also obviously a graduate of the Firefly/Serenity-verse (and now of Dr Horrible's too, but that hadn't been made yet way back in aught-six), is generally just incredibly adorable and I totally have a voicecrush on the man. The film was somewhat preposterous, and I'm almost annoyed at Alan Tudyk for hyping it up, except that him doing so was seriously all kinds of cute so I'm having a problem getting appropriately angry.

It's a pretty standard plot- an alien (in this case, literally) entity has infected someone and this infection is spreading and taking everyone over, whilst a small band have withstood the attack and now have to save the world against seemingly impossible odds! The SFX were actually pretty cool (and unbelievably gross, but in an awesome way), I especially liked the ridiculous squid-Grant and the guy getting sliced in two. When did I turn into a fourteen year old boy? Oh, right. Well I'll pretend to be an anthropologista for a moment... This film did have one of the most redundantly explicit infestation-as-rape scenes that I've ever seen (although I suppose that's not saying much since I don't watch films), featuring the infected Grant visiting Brenda who's desperate to be his bit on the side. Grant unbuttons his shirt to reveal two unmistakably phallic protrusions- then pierces her skin while she struggles against him. The scene is clearly shot as a rape, and it was pretty disturbing- especially when intercut with Grant's wife Starla innocently dancing and enjoying herself with Bill (ah Nathan). I can't quite decide whether or not I liked it though- since this is a relatively tongue in cheek horror-comedy I assume that this was a "knowing" scene, nodding to and slightly mocking this tendency of horror flicks. All well and good, but it didn't exactly make pleasant viewing- not to mention Brenda's throes as the camera finally pulled away seemed more orgasmic than deathly which just... is actually something which could be brilliantly disturbing but since it wasn't developed at all and this seems like completely the wrong setting it was just mostly annoying. Unless they were in fact a completely different kind of shudder, in which case just chalk it up to me babbling bullshit as per.

Brenda comically ended up as brood mare for the aliens- Grant fattened her up with a variety of local pets etc to the point where she looked like Veruca Salt, or possibly Balthazar from Buffy (that suit was clearly re-used in the last episode of The Inside). She then exploded pouring a load of gross wriggling beings, all apparently controlled by a hive mentality. The wrigglers infect people via the mouth, and do so very quickly and effectively most of the time- although the lead characters must have very bad breath or something because they somehow withstand the attack. Plot devices don't annoy me too much though when they result in wonderful almost grope-y scenes between Nathan Fillion and Elizabeth Banks (who has a very nice arse, and was somehow incredibly hot in this film despite not performing her eye candy duty in Scrubs particularly well). The weird little aliens also brought about a completely ridiculous scene involving the teen aged Kylie choking on one of these suspiciously phallic larvae. These rape scenes deserve applause I suppose, if only for getting past the censors who would have frowned on any actual sex scenes. Funny old world.

The possessed people tended to become inexplicably stupider, less aggressive and shockingly incompetent when faced with Kylie, Starla or Bill. Consistency is clearly for the weak! They also quickly took to resembling zombies, I'm always a little miffed when a movie sneakily turns into a zombie flick- but nowadays that just reminds me of Dean getting all excited about them in Time is on my Side, so I can cope. They served the story well enough, but whenever they turned into complete idiots around the lead characters I had to roll my eyes. A lot.

This film did have some of the lamest exposition ever. Case in point: instead of clunkily discussing the grenade that Bill later decides is the key to saving everyone when grabbing weapons to go Grant-hunting and sagely deciding to leave it behind for no reason whatsoever, why not include the confiscation of the grenade at the beginning of the film, or randomly include the (pretty funny) anecdote about people trying to fish with it? When a devout Supernatural fan is chiding your exposition you know you're in trouble, Time is on my Side actually has a scene in which Dean waves a bottle of chloroform at Doc Benton and tells him slowly and carefully that the knife he just stabbed him with was dipped in the bottle. It's almost brilliantly absurd in its majestic move of beating the audience over the head with the point, but anything delivered by a maniacally grinning Jensen Ackles somehow works.

Similarly I could forgive Slither many of its worst faux-pas because Bill was simply so endearing. In part I suppose it's because it's always nice to hear Nathan get to swear angrily, but this was coupled with a truly likable character:

Wally: I'm surprised you're able to lift a mug, you've been carrying that torch for so long.
Bill: Oh, that reminds me. There's something I wanted to tell you.
Wally: What's that?
Billy: Fuck you, fatass.

I have retained an unabashed love of Nathan Fillion, even though he's no longer exactly the Captain Tightpants of yore. He was never exactly conventionally gorgeous (although I'm not knocking the nekkid scene from Firefly), so I'm not too fussed about his recent change to going around being puffy eyed and scruffy- especially as he's almost working it.

One thing I did love about the movie was the women. With the exception of Brenda they were pretty kickass. Kylie was great and managed to be pretty funny under pressure, which is always a bonus. She managed to save Bill from an evil deer, and even let him take the credit (although not all that enthusiastically). I especially loved Starla trying to lure Grant by being all sweet to him, just so she could get close enough to whip out her mirror from her underwear and try to stab him. I'm glad that Starla and Bill got their happy ending, and I liked the call back to the whole running away to Hollywood idea. In short, a reasonably entertaining movie- especially if you actually like Nathan Fillion or these kind of horror films.

The latest thing (asides from the distinct lack of crowds on the subway) which had me beaming with pronoic joy was Supernatural. I was a little bored (and had finished my book) when I wandered downstairs and found that everyone was up from their nap too. What came on television to entertain me? That's right, a subtitled (not dubbed!) episode of Supernatural, in fact the very one I'd wanted to watch after seeing the finale of Carnivale- Scarecrow. Season one of Supernatural was apparently even cheesier than I remembered, but it was also chock full of man pain. Nicki Aycock as Meg was way more of a sex kitten than I remembered too (which is odd, because I certainly recalled that she was pretty darn coquettish). The (classic) brotherly moments were brilliant too:

Dean: So what made you change your mind?
Sam: I didn't. I still want to find Dad. And you're still a pain in the ass. But, Jess and Mom- they're both gone. Dad is God knows where. You and me. We're all that's left. So, if we're gonna see this through, we're gonna do it together.
Dean: (pause) Hold me, Sam That was beautiful.
Sam: You should be kissing my ass! You were dead meat, dude.

And Jesus Christ, I always forget but Jensen has a ridiculously deep voice. I suppose it isn't really Jensen's voice since it hisn't his "natural" accent, but is the pitch put on as well? Has someone got some comparative data from his other roles and interviews? Fandom has just about everything, so I wouldn't be surprised. Here have a link to an essay about trauma and PTSD in Supernatural to prove my point. I didn't feel too bad about perving on baby-Jared, since he didn't look as young as I feared. I'll cleanse my palette with very recent pictures from the charity soapbox derby, in which Jared is clearly the hotter of the two. I don't quite know what's going on. (Actually wandering off into another fandom- if it really can be classed as that- proves that it really does have everything. Someone wrote fanfic about Neil Gaiman's webelf. Did I mention that I love the internet?)

I seriously can't wait til I get around to rewatching Supernatural (although I have no idea when), it's going to be so fun and you just know I'll have far too much to say about it (although never as well or as succinctly as kroki_refur's ten expressions). I'm sure that after watching all of The X-Files I'll find a lot of new little things to be amused by, since Supernatural has filched quite a few of The X-Files' cast and crew over the last couple of years. In Scarecrow I realised that the supposedly nice professor was clearly a bad guy straight away this time- because he was played by the Cigarette Smoking Man. There was also a brilliant rainy-umbrella-Vancouver moment. Significant for reals.

Alright I plan to write a little something about vampirism and identity soon, but before I toddle off allow me to share some important/amusing links with you:

*A science writer's (Jenny Oullette's) take on the US election which I found interesting and informative
*Neverwhere, which I've not read but have wanted to for a while especially since watching the original show, is available to read online for a short period
*It turns out that there is a reason for leaf blowers after all
*Christian Bale and Kermit have more in common than you might realise... seriously, don't you think it's weird that you never see them in a room together?
*Juliet Landau directed a film about Gary Oldman directing a video for a Jewish hip hop group with a mobile phone. True story!

And, goodnight.

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