Letters to Holly

Thursday, March 5

I Watches the Watchmen

I got confirmation from the anthology people. They got the comic. The delay in emailing me back stemmed form their inability to open a WinZip file on a Mac. That's surprising.

I got home yesterday and shotgunned a Pepsi to help me make it to the wee hours. Your Brother called us to catch up and sounded genuinely envious that I could sneak out for a midnight show. We ate the spaghetti gift from the grateful TV owners, and Your Sis sacked out around ten. I left for the theatre at 10:45, leaving me time to drift into the doughnut shop. I was the first to arrive for the midnight show at the theatre and saw the empty lobby and no line. I walked over the Krispy Kreme and found it closed. CLOSED! KK never closes. It's supposed to be 24-hour. That's the law. No, this closed at 10:30. Back to the theatre I went, and I bought food. I was the first into the screening room as well, and I read a bit to kill time. We had maybe 15 people total for the film. Right behind me sat the majority of my local Starbucks staff. One came in costume:

I was in love as soon as it started. I was waiting for the film to swerve so far away from the comic that I'd be annoyed. In some cases the opposite happened: The comic dialogue doesn't work when spoken aloud, and it sounded flat in many cases. In others, the film added new moments and angles that cocked my head like the RCA dogs. But also the film added bits that were smart and affecting. It ran the full gamut of adaptation success. I'm eager to see it again Sunday.

It's a hard R. Much nudity and much blood. Those elicited giggles from the younger folks. It also tries to inject coolness to characters and moments that shouldn't be cool. And I felt the increased action was the right move; we get to see why the heroes went into this line of work: It's thrilling. The director-cut DVD should be astounding.

I had no trouble getting back home and remained wide awake until my head hit the pillow. My eyes are shot, and my typing is worse than ever. But so far, so good.

T-minus Something Something.

Your Sis went to work today to spite her illness. I took to the sick bed to keep the sickness from spreading. Yes, the sick bed is there for the sick person, but there you go. I made the curry dish last night by re-engineering a confusing recipe -- how can a pound of chicken and onions simmer in 2 teaspoons of water? -- but it was saved by pineapple and pinches of a curry you mailed us. Tikka, I think. We then watched a charming episode of Lost, and I grabbed my last decent handful of sleep until tomorrow night. The Krispy Kreme next to the movie theater will power me home after the film. Ebert gave it four stars, but I'll read his review only after I've seen the film.

The attorney who closed our house and read our August ceremony vows called us last week needing help with his new TV. He couldn't get the peripherals to work with it. I talked him through it on the phone, and all seemed well. Then he and his wife called the next night to say they took back the TV, traded it for a new one, and needed to start from scratch. Again, over the phone, we set them up. Then they called last night with DVD trouble, and I gave them some ideas. That seemed to work, and now they're giddy with the new entertainment center. They made us spaghetti as payment, and we're supposedly going to eat it tonight.

Sketch of the Day
You've seen my workshop's serial-killer wall of photos. The purpose of it was to hold photos that I could grab and draw to exercise those art muscles. I'm finally back at it, and here's an image from a Saks Fifth Avenue ad. Drawing a head at a turn is very tricky, and I need the practice.

Wednesday, March 4

I've Got a Golden Ticket

I drove straight to the decent movie theatre closest to our house once I left work. That's in Hendersonville. I got my ticket for the midnight showing of Watchmen, and I will be seeing the film alone. Your Sis is again suffering through an ick, and, even if she were hale and hearty, she ain't staying up that late. She will see it with me on Sunday. As the ticket saleswoman warned me, it's a long movie; couple that with the drive home, and I won't be getting back until about 4 a.m. Friday. Work should be interesting, as will be our planned attendance at a Celtic concert that night. Our hero will be caffeinated.

The few advance reviews I've seen from comic professionals and regular folk alike suggest it's an interesting misfire. I don't expect to be transported in an adaptation that matches the heights of, say, Lord of the Rings. I don't think the director is good enough to manage that, frankly. But he is so savvy of effects and camera trickery that I think it will be a kinetic experience. There is a danger of injecting too much action for the sake of winning over mainstream audiences. For instance, the ads feature a shot of the heroine Silk Spectre crashing through the ceiling of a burning building. In the comic, that scene only sees her escort people out through a window and into the flying owlship of her partner. Watchmen isn't an action story. The few fight scenes last maybe one page each. If there's too much punchy-kicky, fans of the comic might break out into laughter. Not that the film relies on their money to be a success.

I'm no longer geeking over this, midnight excursion to the contrary. Rather, I'm terrified of being online all day Friday and seeing some ruinous spoilers plastered onscreen by a merry prankster. I'm saving myself from rage. I haven't seen a midnight show since the first X-Men movie, and that led me to write the first printed local review of the film in the Upstate. I had a scoop.

Picture of the Day
This is from an undated fashion shoot for mom clothes. At least they picked a clean comic store.

Tuesday, March 3

Snow Day Weekend

Because we had a snow day yesterday (Monday), I now have to throw my mind back to Friday. Hmm...

That's not working, so let's move on to what I do remember. The college pal I found on Facebook recently ha a birthday party Saturday night. She was also hosting her boyfriend from the west coast; he plays in a fringe-art band we listened to in college. Nice guy. I can absolutely see why she grabbed him. It was your usual standing-conversation party until the DJs arrived. With three laptops, they made a spontaneous motion art show. They projected image collages on the wall while improvising a thirty-minute ambient symphony. It was from another planet.

Then Elisa and her guy performed a half-composed work on piano and guitar. Another person joined in on clarinet, all while another collage show projected over her piano. I think it was a bone-sober trip, and I was crushed I couldn't contribute anything to it. I wanted to harmonize. While these shows went on, I drew in her journal per her request, but I stopped after a few minutes because it felt rude to not give the performances my full attention. She did this exact mesmerizing spectacles in college, and she blew my Top 40-and-sitcom mind.

During the weekend, I read the book documenting the making of the Watchmen comic. It's a huge tome, designed as a coffee table edition, with heaps of details and archival design material from the artist. Then I read Absolute Watchmen, the over-sized, hi-res, recolored edition, and I saw stuff I missed in reading the normal trade for 20 years. Also, I am now fully girded for the movie. I'm avoiding online preview clips and hope to see the midnight show this Friday morning.

I cleaned up my workshop and placed about 20 pounds of paper in the recycle pile.

The snow day allowed me to read all five volumes of a very Japanese-influenced comic called Scott Pilgrim. I now want to draw a Scott Pilgrim short story and just might. I need a quick art project. I haven't heard from the publisher since I sent in the short story, and I assume they're busy compiling all the submissions.

We knew Sunday evening that Monday would be a stay-home snow day. Much reading ensued. The day ended with wings, as all good Mondays do. We're planning two -- TWO -- curry dishes this week, and I think we're getting competitive about whose will be better.

Picture of the Day