Theater Masks

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wow

The big agent I sent my manuscript to has requested the FULL from me -- HUGE deal! Very excited -- now just to play the waiting game.....but WOW.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lost: Lighthouse

I missed writing last week, though it was certainly an intense and BIG episode. This week was almost as good.

Quick thoughts:
-- Loved Jack's side story. Loved that it was SO character driven and all about who Jack is, not so much about mythology. Just one question, who is David's mother?

-- Claire is BADASS. Axe to the stomach ranks up there with knives in a dishwasher as one of the all time great Lost deaths.

-- The scene in the lighthouse was AWESOME. What the HELL was that? The numbers were DEGREES? Why and how? Is someone coming to the island, or was that metaphorical for "Jack" coming? I did notice -- Austin was on the wheel and not crossed off. Interesting....

-- So now we have Claire vs. Kate -- could be an epic showdown. Is Jacob setting Kate up somehow to get Claire out of the way?

-- I knew her "friend" was going to be Locke - but was totally hoping we'd find out HIS NAME!!! Grrrrrrrr

That's it for first thoughts....more might come to me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Check it out!

A story of mine was published here under a pseudonym. If you know me, you can figure out which one is mine pretty easily (hint: what do I do Tuesday nights at 9pm?)

http://www.scribblersandinkspillers.com/copperwire.html

Monday, February 15, 2010

Villains Can Be Good!

I've been reading Under the Dome for quite a while now (finally within a normal novel's length of the end) and as always I have great admiration for what Stephen King accomplished. I was thinking today, though, about the main villain in the book. I don't want to give anything away to those who haven't read it, but suffice it to say that he is one bad dude. There is nothing I can think of I would consider redeeming about this guy, and it made me wonder why King wrote him that way. On thinking about it, the situation created is unique and can sustain this type of villainy whereas in almost any other case a bad guy of this magnitude would have been shut down before he began. I started thinking then about what makes for a well-rounded bad guy. Say what you want about Big Jim Rennie, but he certainly isn't a well rounded character.

I thought then about some of my favorite antagonists (note NOT villain) from literature, film, and in one case TV: Javert from Les Mis, Sweeney Todd, The Beast from Beauty and the Beast, Fagin from Oliver Twist, Darth Vader, Ben from Lost, Hannibal Lecter (specifically from Silence of the Lambs), Hans Landa from Inglourious Basterds. What makes these antagonists well-rounded, interested characters vs. flat out evil such as Ursula from Little Mermaid, Jafar from Aladdin, Randall Flagg or Big Jim Rennie?

I realized it's all in the comparison to other characters. Each of those in the first list have a counter-balance to their wickedness that gives them an additional layer in the comparison. Javert is ValJean's antagonist, but Thernadier is evil. Sweeney Todd does terrible things, but Judge Turpin is far worse. The Beast kidnaps and menaces - but Gaston who shows the same negative traits that punished the beast in the first place never changes; The Beast does. Fagin is a pitiable character and shows genuine affection for those in his care -- as opposed to Bill Sikes who is violent (directly opposed to Fagin's moral compass) and far more menacing. Darth Vader redeems himself through his son as opposed to The Emperor who never veers from his course. Ben's manipulations have been shown to be overshadowed by the manipulations of the Man in Black (or maybe Jacob - that's yet to be seen). Hannibal's intelligence and cunning make him far more interesting than Buffalo Bill. Hans Landa's evil is mitigated by the fact that he's working for Hitler.

Maybe there's something to this. The counter-point of villainy - having another character who is more two dimensional than your "main" villain might actually be a good thing in helping to define your central antagonist. Of course, having purely evil characters isn't necessarily a bad thing if it serves the story well, but to develop a well-rounded character the balance against someone MORE evil (as opposed to my previous thought on being a balance against the hero) might service the story even better.

Can anyone think of a well-rounded villain that disproves this theory?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Musical Judgement

The song "Anytime" came on my ipod today while Caitie and I were coming home from dinner. It's a cabaret written song by William Finn expressing the sentiment that no matter what happens, the singer would be there for the person he's singing about. I believe the song was written for someone who is dying, though the lyrics are universal enough that they could apply to anything.

The song is one my absolute favorites - the melody and lyrics are both gorgeous.

It got me thinking - is there a way to judge music qualitatively? To Caitie and me, the song is beautiful (it's one of her favorites also, and we even heard the version she prefers - she likes the Norm Lewis, I like the Carolee Carmello, but both are great). Others might hear the song and think it's boring or pretentious or just not their type of song. By the same token, that person might turn around and put on a country song (Caitie likes that, me not so much usually, though I do like some old country a la Willie Nelson - music Caitie hates) or a rap "song" (neither of us like that) and think it's amazing and the greatest thing ever.

OK, so we all have different tastes. So I said to Caitie, "is there some music that everyone would universally agree on as being great?" After thinking about it, I said "what about Mozart?" Nearly anyone who studies or writes about music seriously would agree Mozart is great. Why? I have no idea, but he IS. There's something in the music that is, for the lack of a better word, great.

But then here's the thing -- that same person who would put on Jay-Z's latest might think Mozart is boring or pretentious. If that's so, can there be any music that is considered universally great? Is there a standard by which was can judge ANY music of any sort and say that regardless of opinion, something is "great?"

Now, I admit I'm writing about something here I have little actual knowledge of beyond knowing what I like and what I don't. What I find fascinating, though, is can this be stretched to other art forms -- painting, movies, theater, literature? Moby Dick is considered a great work, but, ironic as the following statement is, I find it dry as toast. Am I wrong? Is the book "great" regardless of my opinion, or can each person on their own define "greatness." If that's so, then how can we EVER pick a "classic" or a "great work" of art?

These are the things that keep me up at night. Any thoughts? Sound off below.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lost: What Kate Does

What does Kate do? Run, I guess.

Same as last week (and ever after) - Spoilers to be expected.

At this point this is my gut reaction to the episode. It certainly wasn't as great as last week's, kind of a middle of the pack episode overall. My thoughts in typical bullet fashion since it seems easiest:

-- I was disappointed not to get any Locke, Ben, Alpert, or Desmond. Looks like we'll get them back next week.

-- What was the point of the scene with Kate getting the handcuffs off? It seemed very filler-ish to me...

-- Claire IS pregnant with Aaron in the other timeline. Jumping ahead, why was Ethan her doctor? I'm sure blogs will come out with this by tomorrow, but was Ethan there at Aaron's birth the first time? He might have been...but there's another stranger implication for the island from that. If Ethan is alive in this timeline, then somehow Horace and his wife (or, as I speculated last year, Horace's wife and her mysterious "other" lover) had him off-island. Given that, can we safely assume the island sunk pre-1977?

-- What happened to Claire's baby during that "moment"? Did Aaron somehow phase to the other timeline? Seems strange they would have that moment, unless it was there simply to bring out the name Aaron which caused Kate...

-- ...to experience deja vu whatever like Jack did last week. I'm just wondering how long into the season we'll have to wait for those "flashes" to pay off.

-- Sayid has a darkness growing him. This is the sickness we've been hearing about since early Rousseau days. The question is, what does this mean? How did electric shock therapy and hot branding irons prove he was infected? Why try to poison him? Will Jack allow Sayid to be poisoned now? Interesting...

-- Hurley and Miles had too little to do this week.

-- Josh Holloway was FANTASTIC this week. His grief was palpable. I've never been more impressed with his acting than I was here, and the scene on the dock should be his Emmy tape.

-- The question we're left with is "Who is Claire now?" She came out of the woods all Danielle Rousseau, we got the very clear shout out to Danielle so we're MEANT to make the connection - but why? What happened to her? How closely does it parallel Danielle's story, and what implication does that have? Are we going to get a parallel between Aaron and Alex somehow? Is Aaron therefore doomed? I'm just letting my speculations run wild here, but who knows if these are relevant questions?

-- Best line of the night: Aldo saying "the pillar of smoke, makes a tikka tikka noise..."

That's about it for now. I may think of more as the week goes by. Not a great episode, certainly, but not a bad one either.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lost: LA X

NOTE: I'm going to leave recaps to those with larger audiences. My assumption is going to be you saw the most recent episode of Lost, so beware spoilers ahead if you haven't seen it.

I plan to post here thoughts, questions, reactions, etc. Not necessarily in any coherent order. Hence, bullet points. Ready, Go.

-- To start, this was WELL worth the eight month wait. I laughed, teared up, and at one point LITERALLY jumped out of my seat with excitement (I did, ask Caitie).

-- Alternate time lines. I LOVE this. I love that we're now getting "flashes sideways" (words of the producers). It's perfect story-telling. After our traditional flashbacks and game changing flash forwards, "sideways" flashes seem all too suited to this show.

--I'm going to treat the sideways flashes as them being legitimate timelines, not "side stories." The first question I have is WHAT is the deal with Desmond being on the plane? Two thoughts -- 1)we know Des is special. Could he be in both timelines? 2)If the island was submerged (how cool was that???) in 1977, was Widmore still on the island then? If so, did Des never meet him?

-- The sideways flashes were just a little -- off. Jack with the nick on his neck. The reversal of the Rose/Jack discussion. Sawyer seeming cocky. Hurley being lucky. One of the things I'm most looking forward to finding out about is how this new timeline skews with what we know already. Besides, how cool was it to see Frogurt and Arzt again!

-- The John/Jack talk at the end of the episode was awesome. "Nothing is irreversible." Is Jack somehow going to try to reverse the timeline? The line was no accident!

-- Back to the island, let's start with Juliet. Sad she's dead, but what were the lines about coffee and going Dutch? My guess - Juliet was experiencing both timelines simultaneously. There's speculation that she's not talking to Sawyer in the other timeline. I don't know about that, but I'm willing to bet we hear those lines again!

-- The moment that had me jump off the couch -- Locke IS MIB IS Smokey!!! I have to agree with Doc Jensen: "I'm sorry you had to see me like that" may well be the greatest line in the series so far. Now, the question is what is home? Is it the temple? Is it off the island? Is it another TIME? Terry O'Quinn needs another Emmy for this performance.

-- So, is Sayid Jacob now? Seems very possible! Those temple "others" were interesting, and I love that we're finally finding out more about these people who've been on the island all along. They're the ones who took the kids from the Tailies back in the beginning of season 2. I think Alpert has a connection to them. Interesting...can't wait to find out more.

I know I look at this show with rose-colored glasses, but the ONLY criticism I can give of this episode was the INCREDIBLE amount of commercials.

Please leave any thoughts, comments, ideas, "Jason you're an idiot" thoughts in the comments below. If I think of anything else I'll add it in as the week goes by.