Print Story 2008.01.08: My MGE Representative called while I was out ...
Diary
By BlueOregon (Tue Jan 08, 2008 at 05:53:08 PM EST) (all tags)

"Dear Customer,
   Madison Gas and Electric Co. called while you were out. We are scheduling an electrical outage 1-9-08 between the hours of 11:00a.m. to 2:00p.m ..."

At least I'll be at work.

It was the grappa that transformed that rather simple sauce into a potent remedy for the day’s heat-induced stupor. Grappa is a fiery drink, not for the mild of heart or palate. Or as the Italian writer Italo Calvino memorably described it: "suitable only for defrocked priests, unemployed bookkeepers and husbands who have been cuckolded."
[ s o u r c e ]

Inside: Just work, a book recalled, miscellaneous reflections, and a poll (what's your favorite movie by Uwe Boll?).



I

Surprisingly few new emails awaited me today; I last checked the work mailbox in the third week of December. 40-ish. And the majority were the result of book review editors sending my review after review, each in its own special, personalized message. Once I tallied them and shuffled them off to their own holding pens I was left with a handful of others to forward to my superiors. Sometimes I love the chain of command.

$DEMIURGE and I spend far too much of the lunch hour and beyond discussing the most trivial of matters, be they my trip to the cinema yesterday, the meat-on-a-stick at Samba, or the defects of our professional peers. We just need a water cooler. Ours is a peer-reviewed, refereed journal, with the refereeing performed blind. A manuscript is submitted, passes through the editorial office and, if not rejected for obvious reasons, is sent to an associate editor (responsible for the region the manuscript covers). The associate editor replies and recommends either summary rejection or sending it to referees, and, if the latter, provides suggested reviewers. The associate editor has the full file and knows who the manuscript author is, for example, but the referees do not. It it gets so far, the editor makes a decision on the manuscript based upon the referee reports (a decision that is one of Reject, Revise & Resubmit, Accept with Revisions, or Accept), and in any of those four cases the manuscript author generally receives the referee reports, which (for the author) do not contain the names of the referees. It should be obvious that in a large number of cases a manuscript can make it to "Reject" or "Revise & Resubmit" without having been reviewed by two blind readers—if the editor thinks it's shit, if the associate editor thinks it's shit, if either thinks it is interesting but in need of structural improvement, of if one of them thinks it would fit better in a different (often, more specialized) journal—, in which case one cannot return two blind referee reports. Especially in the case that the only report we have is the associate editor's, the editor is not going to reject the manuscript or ask for an R&R and tell the author, "the only person who read this was so-and-so, whose name you can easily google." So as far as the author is concerned, s/he is just getting one referee report back; similarly, if only one referee provides a worthwhile written report, then often it will be included and the associate editor's will be included as the second referee's. This provides anonymous feedback to the manuscript author.

The recipient of a recent R&R wondered why s/he didn't get two reports, and went on a mini-rant about how s/he had dealt with many peer-reviewed journals, always received at least two, etc., and then became more-or-less obnoxious in requesting more information & feedback, etc. Response: dude, get a grip, get some perspective, and don't pester people, lest they decide an R&R isn't worth it. Take the advice you were given and stop complaining. Alas, not to be, which just provides us with more drama to discuss; the other problem is that &$Uuml;BERBOSS is too generous or lenient, doesn't have a firm enough hand much of the time, etc., and should really just tell more authors to shove.

II

It's a good thing I only have thirty pages to go. Dude, do not be recalling fiction over the holidays. You do not need this book for your work, so do not disturb other readers, f*cktard.

1/8/2008

UW Madison
MEMORIAL CIRC DESK

Dear BLUEOREGON:

The following item(s) currently charged to you are needed by another patron. The new due date(s) are shown below. Please return item(s) to the indicated location(s).

Location: MEMORIAL CIRC DESK
Title: Road / Cormac McCarthy.
Author: McCarthy, Cormac, 1933-
Item ID: 89091985705
Call #: PS3563 C337 R63 2006

Due Date: 1/14/2008

For information about items you have checked out, go to My MadCat Account at: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.web/mymadcataccount.

If you have questions or need assistance contact us at:
      Location: MEMORIAL CIRC DESK
      Phone: 608-263-7360

After work this afternoon I went back to Fair Trade for the first time in almost two weeks, and it was pleasantly non-full, populated at scattered tables and filled by a gentle background of conversation and white noise. I pulled out my current sketchbook and several old ones containing pencil doodles I wish to ink, but set them aside, for my hands/fingers were still too cold to handle the pen with skill, and instead returned to The Road, which to this point had been a bus book only. I'm still not done, but the pages flew by as I was able to concentrate without the constant interruptions of riders getting on and off, and so on. I jot down notes on the actual book and story once I'm done with it.

III

I don't know exactly when it began; I suspect with Polanski's "The Ninth Gate," which I rather adore but for a couple bad scene's with the director's much younger wife. I rewatched it a couple months ago; when I moved into my new abode the room I received was—and still is—rather small, but the TV I inherited (as well as the DVD player and night to house and support them) fit snugly into a corner easily viewed from the bed. Which is to say, viewing movies late at night from bed, especially in the colder months, was a very viable evening option, so I rewatched "The Night Gate," and then realized it had commentary by the director.

Polanski does a very good commentary. You get this feeling he's alone in his office, kicking back at his desk, smoking a cigar—he does take a smoke-break midway through, and it might be a cigar—just enjoying himself while he watches this film for the first time in years. There are no producers, costume designers, overpaid actors, etc. sitting in with him, and the man knows film. The man knows movies and acting and directing, and that's the key. To use yesterday's word of the day: it's glorious.

So I got it into my mind that when I needed late night and not too strenuous entertainment I should put on old movies I have on DVD and look for the commentaries. No commentary, no viewing. My brother moved in for a while so we watched the three LotR extended cut editions, but only the actors' commentaries. It's all about the hobbits. Quite entertaining, great anecdotes, all that, but not the movie making wisdom of, say, a Polanski. Later I did the same with some Sam Raimi flicks, but only rarely was he inspiring; Bryan Singer wasn't either. Tim Burton was surprisingly lucid and interesting when discussing his "Planet the Apes," and I enjoyed del Toro and Mignola discuss "Hellboy" (though not quite as amusing as the actors discussing the same film). A week or two ago I decided to return to LotR, but with Peter Jackson's commentary, and while there are flat moments, while listening to him you gain a new appreciation for the attention paid to crafting the narrative and making sure things worked (for some definition of worked).

I'm not praising the movies, per se, though I enjoy them a great deal, and I think they retain re-view value, but why I find them so worthwhile is that they show the thinking of a team of creators who worked hard for monthws (years in this case) to craft something, and while it's true they had a huge budget, you also notice how important the decisions of individuals were. And this is relevant when comparing them to the artistic failures that are the movies I've watched in recent weeks (watched and enjoyed, mind you). They, too, upon DVD release, will have director commentaries and will, almost certainly, belong in the Onion's Commentary Tracks of the Damned collection (hell, "Æon Flux" and "Ultraviolet" are already there). I want to know what the excuses for crappy script-writing, incompetent acting, and retarded editing are.

Speaking of bad movies, "In the Name of the King" (Burt Reynolds! Ray Liotta! Kristanna Loken! John Rhys-Davies! Leelee Sobieski! and more ...) will be upon us soon: January 11.

In terms of better movies, a trailer for the second Hellboy movie ("in theaters July 11 2008") is available, as is the second trailer for the next Batman movie. I'm probably not the only one who thinks Roland Emmerich's 10,000 B.C. is going to be a big-budget failure (though releasing it in March [the 7th] does scream "We know it sucks, but we're hoping there is no competition in the theaters that week, so give us money").

Days Without:

  • Alchohol: 8
  • Ice Cream: 8
  • (nothing else to report, I guess ...)

"Su representante de MGE llamò cuando usted estaba fuera de casa."

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2008.01.08: My MGE Representative called while I was out ... | 5 comments (5 topical, 0 hidden)
I am not sure why by MohammedNiyalSayeed (4.00 / 1) #1 Tue Jan 08, 2008 at 07:09:58 PM EST

But LuLu Sobieweiweiskwszszksksyzki somehow invokes a strong negative reaction in me, yet I still manage to conflate her with Julia Stiles, who also invokes a strong negative reaction in me. I am not entirely convinced that they are actually separate people.

Also, +1, Meat on a Stick.


-
You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
Meat on a Stick by BlueOregon (4.00 / 1) #2 Wed Jan 09, 2008 at 05:37:10 AM EST

$DEMIURGE highly recommends the meat-on-a-stick place. Says: best lamb she's had. I'm tempted. She says: will eat there again (ate there twice over the holidays). The all-the-meat-you-can-eat price (with salad bar), but drinks extra, is about $33, which means it's not something I'm going to do whenever I get a hankering for flesh. $DEMIURGE also says the same places in Milwaukee charge closer to $50. So I guess there's that.

RE: Ll Sb and J.S., the former sometimes produces a strong negative feeling. Sometimes == usually. I mean, with the actual name "Liliane Rudabet Gloria Elsveta Sobieski" you've got to think, "over-naming, parents!" I approve of her turns in Deep Impact and Eyes Wide Shut (and I haven't yet watched Max), but other than that her career choices are less than inspiring. As for J.S., I used to work with someone of the same name and age who had heard far too many J.S. jokes and references. As for the actress, "meh" I guess, though I'm rather fond of the three Bourne ... movies she's in.

[ Parent ]
Hellboy Sequel SHould be Good. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #3 Wed Jan 09, 2008 at 03:18:53 PM EST
Please let them not fuck up Johann.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

I think of it this way ... by BlueOregon (2.00 / 0) #4 Wed Jan 09, 2008 at 03:51:58 PM EST

As far as I'm concerned del Toro can do no wrong, and Mignola is involved in the script. And there are good actors involved. Meaning the only way to fuck it up is if the studio/producers get involved re-editing things at the end, as they did, say, with "Mimic" (which del Toro has basically disowned).

As for Johann Kraus -- I've seen some of the images, and the costume looks good enough, and they have a good actor for the voice. Doesn't mean much, but I'm hopeful.

[ Parent ]
IAWTP by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #5 Wed Jan 09, 2008 at 04:29:36 PM EST
Personally, I thought the ending to the first one was banal. I usually turn it off at the last 30 minutes. I'm just wondering how involved Mignola is. Also, Hellboy looks a bit smaller. WTF?

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
2008.01.08: My MGE Representative called while I was out ... | 5 comments (5 topical, 0 hidden)