Saturday, June 27, 2009

... ghosts of farscape past

i miss farscape... i was watching the last episodes of it today and there was footage of producer david kemper reading comments from tv guide - i'll repeat them here:
we didn't do anything wrong. we did a great job, and they cut us off before we finished telling the story. and i've talked to a lot of people, and andrew, and ben, and the big regret is: we didn't get to finish the story, and we all know that the house is like eighty percent painted... but we didn't screw up.

now, for those of you who know who matt roush is - he's the influential tv critic for tv guide, the biggest magazine of its kind in the states - he's been our supporter, and, uh, he called me last night about three in the morning, while i was writing the crap that went on over there. and he wanted an interview for the next magazine. and after we talked, this is what he wrote on-line. (he brings the piece of paper up to read it) and i think some portion of this will end up in the magazine. he wants to talk again tonight.

whew. "moya..." this, this, again, this is the guy... "moya no more . i couldn't be more disappointed to hear that scifi has opted not to support a fifth season of its signature series, farscape. since its unexpected and unheralded arrival in march, 1999, this lavishly produced space adventure quickly established itself as the most irreverent, unpredictable, sexy, intelligent, and exciting sci-fi show on tv. by comparison, enterprise is a lumbering dinosaur.

"ben browder and claudia black have incredible chemistry, and are surrounded by some of the most vivid and compelling fantasy creatures ever created. farscape is a joy to watch, and i've always been puzzled by why its rabidly loyal audience hasn't swelled in numbers each season. the show requires attention to be paid. maybe it's too much tv for some people. but the rewards are great. meanwhile, an inert movie like the latest blah star wars epic rakes in the bucks for no discernable reason i can think of except for genre fans' lemming-like devotion.

"for scifi to cite economic reasons for denying fans a final year of farscape would seem to be at odds with the network's mission as an entertainment brand. this decision is likely to be compared, years from now, to nbc's short-sighted cancellation of the original star trek."

this was made in australia by australians. this is the best science fiction show that's ever been made for television. you guys are great.
i miss farscape.

Friday, June 26, 2009

... coming home after watching transformers 2

i feel as though i should feel colder than i do. the night is clear and crisp, the stars shining through scattered rags of cloud suspended high in the sky, though not so high that they escape the illumination of the gradually sleeping city below them. am i warm from walking home from the tram stop so swiftly? warmed by adrenaline the way i read once that you can be, before the onset of hypothermia? or maybe simply warmed by the exertion of stalking the two hundred-odd metres from the tram stop to my front gate, stalking with that swift step that comes from the excitement of the movie you just watched the end credits roll for, or the song that just finished playing through your earphones, or the book you just slipped the old receipt into, breaking the action the way you wish television networks would learn to break the action of the movies they broadcast?

my nose isn't sniffly with the cold, there's no drip, though there was one before earlier in the day, in warmer environs than these, the front yard at my latest rented abode. i feel no itch in my throat, no cough expectantly expecting expectoration, though the dust that accumulates on every retailer's shelves teased out a stunning staccato when i returned to work after lunch. one single defiant sneeze, as if to say my cold would not be sneezed at.

it's a beautiful night outside. i felt i could have walked much further than i needed to but i think that that feeling was half-predicated on knowing that home was so close by. stopping by woods on a snowy evening, robert frost said what i think i may be feeling:
whose woods these are i think i know,
his house is in the village though.
he will not see me stopping here,
to watch his woods fill up with snow.

my little horse must think it queer,
to stop without a farmhouse near,
between the woods and frozen lake,
the darkest evening of the year.

he gives his harness bells a shake,
to ask if there is some mistake.
the only other sound's the sweep,
of easy wind and downy flake.

the woods are lovely, dark and deep,
but i have promises to keep,
and miles to go before i sleep,
and miles to go before i sleep.

Monday, June 22, 2009

... not long now!

my holiday to oregon is rapidly approaching and there is now less time until i leave than there will be time that i'm away! (if that makes sense.) i'll be in portland for two weeks with a break in the middle where i intend to be in astoria. i've also been playing around with checking out vancouver (washington state, just across the columbia river from portland), a place i know nothing else about besides its proximity to my main destination. i thought about going to forks but it looks like such a long way from portland (i think it was right up near the border with canada) so my twilight pilgrimage will have to wait.

work is great. i've definitely fallen on my feet here and it's hard to believe that i've already been here for nine months now! i feel like i'm a useful member of staff that may be missed while i'm gone on holidays, which is not a bad thing to feel, i think.

i gave a short talk at a men's breakfast on saturday. not very long, five minutes or so - i actually made a little a7-size zine to use as my notes! - and it seemed to go ok. generated some good conversation afterwards, which is nice.

still trying to get to see state of play - hopefully i'll be able to see it before I go away. (who knows what i'll see on the plane to sf/pdx?)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

... sidney nolan

i was channel-surfing after the end of law & order: criminal intent tonight and i hit upon a documentary about sidney nolan. i really don't know much about the man, aside from the iconic paintings of ned kelly, but i learned one or two interesting tidbits. chief among these was that he died on my eighteenth birthday.

he had a rich and varied life. he was a painter from a ridiculously early age - wiki has him working on advertising displays with spray paints during the mid- to late-1930s - and went through periods of intense absorption of his surroundings and experiences which later translated in intense bursts of creativity. one person interviewed in the documentary said something about some flak that nolan faced for spending seemingly so little time on his work, capable of producing three or four paintings in only one morning. he'd made a comment to nolan who (typically having an answer for everything) said something along the lines of "five years thinking about it, half an hour painting it".

his personal life was something of a disaster area (a wife, child until an open and marriage-rending affair with sunday reed, during which time he created the kelly series of paintings) it seems until he married cynthia reed in 1948. the two sounded like they were great for each other and they travelled the world, he becoming quite the internationalist artist, seeking to become a world-citizen, while cynthia wrote constantly, producing several books of memoirs of their lives together. she died in 1976 and her daughter jinx, nolan's step-daughter, remarked that "he didn't mourn her... no, i don't mean that, that sounds terrible... i mean that he simply... closed a door. he closed the door on that part of his life, on those feelings..." (or words to that effect). in 1978 he married mary boyd, with whom he remained happily married until his death... on my 18th birthday.

my birthday in 1992 was a little less than a week after my end-of-school exams. i was thinking of little besides Christmas, a new year's eve party in sydney, then flying to china for two weeks' holidays before uni began in late february. i certainly wasn't thinking about this man who'd led such an (apparently) interesting and full life, of travel, of creativity, of reckless and feckless disregard, and of passionate commitment to his craft. he seemed to want to suck the marrow out of life and wasn't content to wait for the body to be carved up first. i didn't have the words then for what i wanted from life - i thought i knew what i wanted but that turned out to be not so.

"a loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou" - i don't need a car or mortgage or ladder-climbing career for these things. i do know that, for a Christian, they are both too much and not enough. in the bewildering array of life goals in the world today, mine barely rate, which might uncharitably be called the end result of western consumerist apathy and human selfishness. i know how much my selfish wants loom large, interfering in my relationship with God - i am not separated by miles and time from God, i so often simply have my back to him.