Monday, December 20, 2004

Not Much Ado about Not Much

Haven't read much decent recently. Read the 4th nanotech book by Cathleen Goonan "Light Music". Fuzzy physics, pretty weak. I read another of the James Lee Burke Dave Robicheaux cajun detective novels "Burning Angel". They're OK, not great.

I read a collection of three novels by S.M. Stirling, "The Domination". Ugh, nasty, one of those memes you wish you hadn't put in your head. My friend David recommended Stirling, probably based on recommendations of his brother the militarist. Basically, the losers of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars take over South Africa and found Draka, then take over all of Africa, Asia, Europe, the world by 1990. They're ultra-Nazis, enslave the conquered races, breed superhumans. The protagronists are mostly Draka, and you can't help but identify with protagonists to some extent. Nasty, ugh.

I have seen some good movies. "Sideways" was existential and funny. "Spiderman II" I would have to say is the best comic superhero movie yet. It made me recognize what the essence of the superhero meme is. (BTW, I have been infected with this meme since I was around 7 years old -- I organized a bunch of my fellow 2nd-graders into The Blackhawks (DC comic) at that time. I was, of course, Blackhawk, the leader.) The essence is, that the superhero is hidden -- his worth is not recognized -- and the unveiling of the superhero is one of the few things that creates a strong emotional reaction in me. Obviously, I'm waiting for my turn. Deep down, I always wanted to be a superhero, or at least the protagonist in a decent SF novel. Finally reaching the age where I realize in my gut that it ain't happenin.

Anyway, in "Spiderman II", Spidey is unveiled not once or twice, but 3 times. The 1st and 3rd times, the 1st with it's Jebus overtones, were particularly touching.

Some other great "the secret superhero is unveiled" scenes:

  • The ending of the 50's "Ulysses" with Kirk Douglas. Ulysses has entered his house in disguise; strings the bow that none of his wife's suitors can string; shoots an arrow through the n axe handles; then throws off his disguise and commences to slaughter the suitors to cries of "It's Ulysses!".
  • The ending of David Lynch's "Dune". Alia: "Not until you tell them who I really am." Reverend Mother: "Alia, ... Sister of Paul Muadib". Emperor: "Paul is Muadib?!?!?"
I guess I don't feel so bad about my juvenile fantasies. The meme is a very strong one. It's a variation on the messianic meme. I remember a few years ago, my oldest sister and her family were staying us around xmas. Her husband hadn't seen a number of movies we had enjoyed recently, so we watched:
  • The Matrix -- "He is the one,"
  • Blade -- "You are the one."
  • Dark City -- "You are the one."
Kind of whacks you upside the head. Probably pretty much a male meme, you don't hear to much about female messiahs (or is it messiem? :->)

I completed ripping my CDs, except for 5-10 my kids have absconded with. Wound up with 3284 tracks, mostly rated. Shuffle play on 3-star and up is very nice -- plus excellent "name that tune" practice.

Not too much new music lately. Only thing I've gotten lately is "Summer in Abaddon", by Pinback, not as good as their previous "Blue Screen Life".

All my kids will be home for xmas, east and west coast both. It will be nice to see them, cook a big bird. Then going to North Carolina to visit with my baby sister and some of my other sibs families.