August 12th, 2008


Life's too short to read Joe Queenan

Latest reading is quick reading: a 2002 Star Wars essay collection called A Galaxy Not So Far Away (edited by Glenn Kenny back when Premiere still existed), picked up at the library yesterday and already half-read.

Kind of light, this reading is. (Yes, sometimes I talk like Yoda. Surprised?) Most of the essays I've read so far seem intentionally extra-light, not really digging, though I did like Elvis Mitchell's analysis of why Lando's important, and I was somewhat amused by Neal Pollack's re-write of the original film as if Luke were Holden Caulfield. Some of the writers seem to be digging at air, not reaching particularly interesting conclusions or simply misdirecting their analytical efforts. It is possible to mine pop culture stuff like Star Wars for deep or at least interesting meaning -- as an overanalyzing English major, I should know -- and I've read better attempts to do so.

Maybe I'm not in the mindset or mood to get depth at the moment. There's always that chance, that I'm just not picking up on the subtleties spun by the authors because my mind's already too much in vacation mode, but I doubt that's why I'm not yet overly impressed. (I do know this'd be a lousy time for me to start, say, Moby-Dick or War and Peace. But still.)

I skipped Joe Queenan's essay, described on the back blurb as "the Galactic Empire -- the Galaxy's Last Hope" (and titled "Anakin Get Your Gun"), because I've decided life's too short to read Joe Queenan. He turned me off a few years ago with an essay I found really tortured, basically saying any fan of the Rocky films is a redneck Muhammad Ali-hating dumbass; later I tried to read his collection Confessions of a Cineplex Heckler and could not even get past Page 2.

Oh, and A Galaxy Not So Far Away was sloppily proof-read, which always makes my editing-savvy self think really, proofreading isn't that hard.

Because I'm a Kevin Smith fan, I responded well to Smith's "Married to the Force," starting with his story of attending Cannes in 1994 where a French reporter asked him if he'd intended Jay and Silent Bob to be Clerks's R2-D2 and C-3PO. (Smith said that had never occurred to him until the reporter brought it up.) He ends it with how he and his wife got married at Skywalker Ranch, the same April '99 weekend that my brother and his wife got married in Pennsylvania, because he was using the Lucas-built facilities to finish post-production on Dogma. I'm glad Smith is a good teller of tales of himself, his family and his work; and Smith has spoken eloquently about Star Wars in the past. (Even his vulgar speaking -- he swears a lot -- is kind of eloquent.)

Still, my current more edifying reading is The Stand (still; I've reached page 645 out of 817 of the original-published short version) and McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Stories. I'm trying to regain my ability to juggle multiple books...


Closer to flying to Pi-Con I come...

I decided this afternoon to do a "test run" of how I'll likely go to the airport next week. Not a necessary trip, except maybe psychologically: to remind myself that YEP I'LL BE TRAVELING SOON. (I Can Has Transit! It's been a year since I've taken a serious vacation.) I'd also decided to check with JetBlue in person about their baggage guidelines: can I get away with my backpack being a personal item and my suitcase being my carry-on? The answer is either "yes" or "no, you'll have to pay a 20-buck fee to carry on the backpack," but either answer means I can bring my backpack, and that makes packing simpler. I hope not to check anything, is the thing.

So I got out of the apartment, and the ride via the bus and the Max to the airport was a good reading opportunity, plus a good people-watching opportunity. Things went fine. I knew they would, but I think I needed to know-know. Y'know? So the airport's still there, and the ways of reaching the airport are still there, and now I know JetBlue flies out of Terminal E, and maybe I can go to Good Dog/Bad Dog while at the airport waiting for my flight. (Edit: I checked. That restaurant closes at 9 p.m., and I have a midnight flight. Maybe I'll go to that restaurant when I get back to Portland. I like Good Dog/Bad Dog from the days when there was a branch in downtown. I take my meat-eating seriously.)

Wow, a week from tomorrow and I go...

And to brag on myself (sometimes), I'm proud that I got a quick and nice "thank you" e-mail from Rick Emerson over being impressed enough with his "Emerson address" to transcribe it.