August 28th, 2010

Blow My Mind

Something awesomely weird for your Saturday morning

On the night of Nov. 22, 1987, two Chicago TV stations had their signals hijacked by a man wearing a Max Headroom mask. First WGN had its 9 o'clock news interrupted by the clip, with only static on the soundtrack, then PBS affiliate WTTW had a Doctor Who episode interrupted by more of the same clip, this time with the perpetrator audible. Through a lot of noise, this person spoke nonsensically, pretended to drink a Pepsi, made an obscene gesture, then showed his naked buttocks getting swatted by someone in a dress while he said "They're coming to get me!" The clip then went to black and ended, before WTTW technicians could stop the hijacking themselves.

The perpetrators of the hijacking remain unknown to this day.

The video, with side view of a naked butt, here:

(Via wordsofastory, who posted it to rm's journal here)
Star Wars - Fly away...


(The title just amuses me. I hope it amuses you.)

Back in 1985 on a family camping trip in the Shenandoah Mountains, I brought with me and read James A. Kahn's novelization of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. My first Star Wars novelization and it was for the last film, story-chronology-wise of course. I finally re-read it recently, as since then I'd read the others: Alan Dean Foster's ghost-written Star Wars (which was first six released months before the film), the prequels' novelizations -- I especially liked Matthew Stover's quite stylish and saddening Revenge of the Sith adaptation -- and Donald Glut's disappointing Empire novelization, my issues with which are detailed here. This one? Not bad, and I've been in a Star Wars mood so I was happy to scratch that itch with this book.

Some decent flair to the writing, managing to be a little poetic+ -- especially nice after how flat Glut's book was -- and also not being too inconsistent with how the prequel part of the Star Wars story eventually got told, over 15 years later. The book seems to claim Anakin never met Yoda, but that's not a big deal. (I get a kick out of getting the continuity right. Though it can be amusing when continuity gets screwed up: Doesn't Dracula have two full moons two weeks apart or something? And in Robinson Crusoe the title character strips naked, swims to and climbs onboard a wrecked ship, and then starts filling his pockets. As Stephen King said, "Such literary invention knows no bounds.")

And I like how the book shows the Ewoks' thought process that leads them to fight on the Rebels' side (through C-3PO translating, as it should be -- notice how in the final film 3PO doesn't actually translate much?), as well as the well-described chaos of the battle of Endor, and an unexpected callback in the dialogue when Luke first sees his father without his mask: the dying, wrecked Anakin weakly chuckles and says "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter." It feels right that at that moment, Anakin experiences some sort of Yoda connection.

And little flashes of writing I'd remembered came back to me as I read. I remember a decent amount of this book from that one reading 25 years ago. Yes, much younger self, I came back to it. And I still like Star Wars.

+ An anecdote from when I first read it: as Yoda dies and tries to say "There is another Skywalker," it's written out "There" My 11-year-old self first read that as "There is another sky," which seemed like it could be something that someone having a vision while dying would say. Unintended poetry!
Whale fluke

Confluence. I've seen it happen.

Enjoy what's there. Good idea when you're either A) poor or B) pretending to be poor in an attempt not to spend too much. I have a car, I have gas in it, I have maps for getting around, I have the makings of a picnic lunch: why not drive up to Kelley Point Park, where the Willamette flows into the Columbia? I'd never been there. I've been there now. I spent early afternoon walking the beaches and the paths in the forested areas near the beach. Being the pop culture-addled creature that I am, I looked at the tree line and imagined Lost's beach camps there. Things are more peaceful at Kelley Point than they are "on the island." For a while there wasn't even air traffic, except a seagull here and a goose there, making me wonder if planes banked to the north or south before getting to this point of geography. Then an airliner passed and it was noticeable. I hadn't been missing them.

I walked, got sand in my shoes, watched dogs swim out for balls and sticks, sat on logs, watched boats and barges pass, ate my sandwich and my apple, and swigged alternately water and Dr. Pepper. (My nephews would be disappointed in me for that.) The air was warm and comfortable; the water was warmer than I expected (I stuck my hand in) and comfortable as well. I wondered how much this spot of land looked this way two hundred years ago, when Lewis and Clark went past. How much of what I was looking at was native vegetation? What had been removed, what had been planted? Many ways that places can be modified, and I don't enough geography to see everything that may have been changed. But that's me overthinking the place. The place, it's comfortable, and today was a nice day to experience.

Now I can picture going there in the winter, and it'd be peaceful for other reasons. I wouldn't be touching the water, though.

So. Kelley Point. Now visited by me, and none the worse for wear for the visit.

My plans not to spend too much didn't survive my next stop, to get groceries, because I also took advantage of a couple of sales and bought needed stuff like new sweatpants. My current pair of sweatpants are almost see-through at points. This isn't sexy on me. Now I have sweats I can wear in public.