Well, why not. Let us liveblog!

The US announcers this year are Michelle Visage and Ross Matthews, which one hopes will be a refreshing change from last year's. (Ask me again at hour three.)

Sadly, Montenegro didn't make it through to the final.

We start with the parade of flags (entirely without physical flags), in which the finalists are introduced only by country name.

Our first contestant: Imre from Israel! And we get underway in full Eurovision style, with a power pop dance song, with a very impressive light back drop, blinding low power laser spots, and flames. As one does. It's ... fine? (Oh, up until Mr Israel hits a very very flat note indeed. Recovered well, though.)

Kasia Ros of Poland, with a song called "Flashlight", and a dress with an unfortunate case of the sheers. Power ballad, and she has a very strong voice, although she also hits a very flat note near the end, just as the word "Freedom" forms out of video smoke behind her which then dissolves into a flock of doves.

Belarus, performing a jaunty song actually in Belorussian. Honestly, I like the sound of it a lot. No idea what's happening on the video behind them. 800 years of buildings zooming past, I think. Oh, and they've got a floor motif ... that nobody in the room can possibly see. And then they end with a deep, tonsil-washing kiss. (Michelle: "... Well, I guess they're not brother and sister.")

(Side note: already, I want to find the producers and tell them that when it comes to extreme camera movement, less is definitely better. More is nauseating.)

Nathan from Austria, "Running on Air". He would do very well on the Voice, one suspects; he has some talent, and he's got the Voice Look. Doing his number standing in a giant sequin prop moon. As one does. The song is ... surprisingly low key for Eurovision. Midtempo balladesque songs don't seem to make an appearance much. Ah, and he's getting shouty at the end to compensate for the low-key aspect. And also going flat as a result; a surprising number of people going off at this point. They've all recovered, but it is notable.

Artsvik of Armenia, "Fly with Me." Another mostly low-key number, and their lead singer had difficulty holding the key throughtout. Apparently, 'tis to be a theme. Some key issues aside, I'm not at all sure why they would bring this song to Eurovision; it wasn't powerful enough to be a power ballad, not dance enough to be a dance ballad ... it was sort of just there.

Ogene of Netherlands, "Lights and Shadows". A song written by their father in tribute to their mother who has been fighting some sort of blood illness for a long time. Some really lovely harmonies. The words "Cry no more" on the video back. I have to admit, I'm impressed that they maintained harmony throughout, even with tempo changes. It was very nice.

Aw, one of the hosts goes out and guides the Norway section of the audience in a "Volare" sing-along. (I am not going to be able to keep these hosts straight, I can tell. They look like a Ukranian boy band.)

From Moldova, the Sunstroke Project (?) with "Hey mamma". Oh, hey, bleached blond buys in tuxes. With backup singers with microphone bouquets. Of course. (Also, if the sax player was really playing, I am very impressed; that's a lot of movement to be maintaining some sort of breath control through.) Oh, now the backup singers' dresses convert to wedding gowns, as we were warned would happen. And then they toss their bouquets into the audience. It was ... fun, but also just fine.

Hungary, Joci Papai with "Origo". Apparently he's the first of the Rom to compete for Hungary at Eurovision. Singing in either Hungarian or Romani, I know not which. Oh, and a rap section in the middle, why not. And dancing with his co-performer (well, she's not singing at all). Who then kind of gropes him at the end. Well, why not. Honestly, I liked the sound of this a lot. Not sure it has ... whatever it takes to win Eurovision, but it was really good.

Italy, Francesco Gabbani with "Occidental's Karma". Sung in Italian. I'm not sure how to describe what's going on with the video, exept that it's very colorful, involves evolution,chakras, and a guy dancing in a gorilla costume with a diamond bowtie on. As one does. (Yay! Our first low-key Eurovision WTF moment of the evening!)

Denmark, Anja (who is apparently Australian) with "Where I am". And a few small key issues right at the start, but then she stabilizes. The fireworks fall behind her was nice (and horribly dangerous, one suspects, with all that chiffon), but other than that ... it was fine.

(Huh. Apparently we're having a viewing party somewhere. Oh, well.)

Portugal, Salvador Sobral. Michelle and Ross said that his delivery was rather like Edith Piaf and ... it actually is. In Portuguese and very plaintive. EXTREMELY low key for Eurovision, but from the way the crowd is reacting, they seem to know what he's saying. And they're mostly being quiet enough to let him get this song over, which is astonishing. It was surprisingly lovely, even allowing that I understood not a word.

Aw, the Ukrainian boy banders are making fun of one of the guys' hair.

Azerbaijan, Di Haj with "Skeleton". Singing in front of a large chalkboard with a bunch of stuff written on it. Indluding "drum drum drum". Oh, and there's a guy in black with a horse's head on, standing on a ladder next to her. Well, sure, fine OK. Honestly, despite that -- and, yes, OK, the bit where she was writing on other people's backs with chalk -- it was kind of boring.

Croatia, "My Friend" by Jacques Houdek. (And, in one of the signal and much appreciated differences between this year and last, Ross got through a comment about Jacques being one of the biggest stars in Croatia without even coming close to making a joke about him being heavy. Carson would have gone for it.) I like Jacques switching between pop-tenor and operatic-baritone, and we have demented strings and exploding sparklers, as one does.

Eurofied Australia, Isaiah (he's 17! and eurofied Australia's first Indigenous contestant!) with "Don't come easy". The video backdrop is mostly just ... him in various colors and poses. (I think he may be experiencing the curse of the Video Wall. I do get the impression that a lot of contestants feel like, well, it's there, they have to do SOMETHING with it.) Oh, and he gets the shooting flames AND the sparklerfall. Which are not at all appropriate to this song. Which (oh, apart from that one dreadfully flat moment right before the end) was rather ... dull. He's got the voice, but I'm not sure that was the best song.

(The Ukranian boy banders take us on a tour of the contestant pods section. They're also experiencing the angst of making jokes and small talk in a language they do not speak. It is not, overall, going well.)

Greece, Demy, "This is love". Her intro bit featured her walking along the colonnade with a bunch of shirtless guys as well as a few other people. And ... OK, this really is a theme. I mean, I get that it's live, but I don't recall last year's Eurovision having so many people with key issues. Granted, I think she's trying something a little different with the key - I think she's trying to flex into a minor key here and there, on purpose -- but it's coming off flat. (And the shirtless guys in the colonnade were because she has shirtless guys splashing in a pool on stage. Aw, and then they form a heart with their arms behind her at the end.)

Spain, Manel Navarro, "Do it for your lover". It's very ... beach. Laid back, easy going, video of surfboards, everyone wearing Hawaiian-style shirts. And, well ... meh. 90% of the song was just them singing "Do it for your lover."

Norway, Jowst, "Grab the moment." but will they? WILL they grab the moment? Let's see. DJ has an LED mask so he looks like disco Dr Doom. We also get video effects actually fed into the broadcast camera rather than just on the video wall, which is mildly annoying. I'm really curious about what the audience is seeing, because from what we can see, the video effects are not on the video wall, which means that in the auditorium, they don't get part of the performance. Which ... OK, nobody in the auditorium is voting, so I kind of get it, but it's odd. (Ross and Michelle mentioned that Norway came in as decided underdogs but have become the favorites. We shall see.)

(The Ukranian boy banders spent the past week learning English by watching Friends and lessons from Vitaly Klitchko. Well, that's different. And hey, Mans from last year came to give hosting instructions. In a tux. Well, it makes sense that after last year's perfect Eurovision winning number, we'd have the instructions for the perfect Eurovision host. And Mans really does wear a tux well. Also gets stripped out of it rather well, but that was last year, not this year.)

UK, Lucie Jones, "Never give up". Sings the entire song in a ... mirrored clamshell? Song is a very sweet ballad that she's making more than it is by the sheer power of her voice. And more shooting flames, of course. One of the few numbers where you really see that the video wall extends out to where the proscenium would be, if it were that type of stage -- it's a LOT of video wall is what I'm saying.

Cyprus, Hovig, Gravity. Oh, audience chanting for him; I don't think we've really had that this year. This one ... feels very like Imre from Israel's number, in tone and presentation. Less dance-pop-like. Same black clothing. Same haircut. Same scruff. It's ... fine, I guess?

Romania, Ilinca feat. Alex Florea. "Yodel it." Well, OK, then. A mostly rap/pop song with yodeling. With a colorful music bar and notes on the video wall reading "Yodel it." YES! And gittering cannons on the stage for no reason at all, because why wouldn't you yodel with cannons! This Is The Eurovision Experience I was waiting for! (It's got no chance, of course, but it was ridiculous fun.)

Germany, Levina, "Perfect life". Generally low key use of the video wall for a high-energy rock-ish song. Fully deployed shoulder pads and very very neutral clothing overall.

(Eurovision amateur choir of the year competition in Riga, Latvia. It's either going to be relentlessly buttoned down, or utterly insane.)

Ukraine, O.Torvald, "Time". And a giant head on stage with them. As one does. (The head has its own video effects; I was originally not sure whether it was a prop -- as it is -- or part of the video wall.) And they rock OUT! Could not be more of a contrast with last year's contemplative, pointed song from Ukraine.

Belgium, Blanche, "City Lights". "She can move one of her toes telepathically." OK, then. I was not expecting that deep voice from the ethereal-looking person in the package bit. Those few times when the camera stopped swooping throughout the room and focused on her face, she looked absolutely terrified; she didn't loosen up until near the end. The song itself has issues with being both very limited in dynamic range and very limited in emotional range. Dynamic range was revealed to be a deliberate choice, since she went way up high (with a very tiny voice) for the next-to-last verse. (Well ... such as the verses were. Another song with very few words.)

(The Ukrainian boy banders are having a smile-off. OK, why not.)

(Ross and Michelle note that Ireland didn't break to the finals this time. Oddly, Ireland is listed on the finalist participants page as of this writing. Wonder what happened?)

Sweden, Robin Bengtsson, "I can't go on." Boybander fashionistas on treadmills. Seriously. And, once again, a song with seriously limited lyrics. "I can't go on because you look so freakin' beautiful." Really? Why can't you?

Bulgaria, Kristian Kostov, another 17 year old, "Beautiful mess". Slow build song that soars way up high in places. First person to really interact directly (if briefly) with the video wall. A lot of emotion in the song, so that may help as well.

France, Alma, "Requiem". Starts in French, jumps into English for the beginning of the chorus, then back to French. It's a fun song; the impression, coming after Kristian's emotional ballad, is that it's rather slight as well, which may be unfair. Lots of video wall and video floor work with Paris as the city of lights. We were told there would be yodeling, however, and I feel cheated.

(Ukranian boy banders are giving instructions in two languages which they do not speak. I feel so undereducated.)

Oh, Zverka! I remember these people from last year! They gave the Ukraine jury vote! They're very very ... Ukranian. Being wheedled by the Boybanders to open voting. It's very precious and charming.

I don't know. Last year, there were people who stood out because of performance, or because of staging, or because of emotion in the number, and this year ... not as strongly. I would guess that Netherlands and Bulgaria would make top five, and hopefully Hungary does as well. Portugal has a very good chance, I think. Beyond that, I have no idea.

Updates forthcoming as voting and other business warrant.

Ruslana singing "It's magical" in ... whatever her language is. (Michelle: "An interval act, akin to our half-time at the Super Bowl.") And another from Ukraine with a very long, but generally pretty good, number. (A notable difference this year: so far, the interval acts are just ... acts. Last year, they were very social, with an act dedicated to the refugee crisis, among other things. Completely absent this year so far. Maybe they decided that having Eurovision in an occupied and effectively partitioned country was social enough.)

The 13 year old winner of Junior Eurovision from the Republic of Georgia speaks perfectly idiomatic English. Because of course.

Jamala, last year's winner, singing a very strikingly jazz-pop number called "I believe in U [sic]" that could not be much mroe different from last year's pointed political number. And at the beginning of her number, a streaker from the audience wearing an Australian flag got up, ran around her, and showed his bare butt to the camera. She handled it with great aplomb, ignoring him completely, and then he got tackled by security.

Jury voting begins! In early voting, Portugal is emerging as a strong performer; it hasn't been lower than second on any of the first five ballots, and won four of them. (Unexpected announcement at the top of the vote: the Israeli broadcaster of Eurovision is apparently shutting down and will no longer carry the broadcast.) Further on, it hasn't been lower than fifth or sixth, but Italy is moving up strongly. Bulgaria is holding second fairly easily at the moment. (Some adorable byplay between the Ukranian boy banders and the French judge.) Greece, somewhat astonishingly given politics, votes for Cyprus. At the midway point, a highly stratified vote, with Portugal well out in front, Bulgaria well out in second, and then a clumped ballot. If current trends continue, Eurofied Australia is on the verge of falling out of the top five for the first time in its three year Eurovision history.

And then we have a break for Ukranian comedy. As one does.

After the jury vote midpoint, Portugal continues its European domination. For the most part, it hasn't been out of the top five on many ballots, and only two or three have left it out of the top ten. Interesting thing: as this year's jury vote goes on and the shape becomes more obvious, you can generally, but not always, tell who their 12 points are going to. If Portugal isn't in the nine other ranked countries, it's getting the 12 points. If Portugal is in the other ranked countries and Bulgaria isn't, then they're getting the votes.(It's going to take a really relentlessly interesting public vote to knock Portugal out of the top spot, at this point. If they can get consistent points from the public vote, I can't quite see how it would happen.)

For no reason whatsoever, the Georgian juror greets the Ukranian boy banders in Japanese. And in the reverse peculiar politics moment, Greece takes Cyprus' 12 points. Followed by a weird glitch where the Boy banders mistakenly introduced Hungary's jury and then had to do a quick reverse to correctly introduce Romania's jury, and THEN Hungary. (At this point, they're showing Sobral of Portugal with almost every vote, and he looks increasingly tense as the vote goes on, unsurprisingly.) (And the boy banders make the UK judge just a touch uncomfortable by mentioning that they were born the year the UK judge won Eurovision.)

With the conclusion of the juried vote, Portugal leads Bulgaria by 100 points. Eurofied Australia is hanging grimly on to fourth place by five points, and not far enough from sixth place to feel even vaguely save in that top five berth.

The public vote is tallied separately by country, ranked, then bundled. Australia gets utterly clobbered in the public vote, finishing next to last in the televote. Hungary finished very strongly in the televote, knocking Australia from fourth to fifth, and vaulting from something like 20th place to do so. Italy gets another strong vote and knocks Eurofied Australia out of the top five. At this point, it's purely a question of margins. Moldova and Belgium are likely far enough back that even winning the televote probably can't win them the contest -- and a very strong fourth place put Belgium's combined jury-televote 15 points behind Portugal's jury-only vote. Moldova's very strong televote also left them finishing behind Portugal's jury-only vote. Absent an absolute landslide, Portugal getting almost anything at all wins the contest. And in fact, Portugal won the televote, so it was academic.

In one of those weird moments having to do with how it was announced, Sobral clearly thought he'd actually lost, and it took a few seconds for him to catch up with the mathiness of it all. His very brief winner's speech was ... well. It's pretty hard to read "Music is not fireworks" as anything other than a fairly pointed remark to the "we never saw a firework we didn't like unless we couldn't use it because the fire code wouldn't let us" Eurovision. Which is really odd. He then brought the song's composer up on the stage with him for his winner's encore, which was rather sweet.

Strikingly atypical songs winning Eurovision in back to back years.
Something I posted elsewhere, but I thought I might as well stick it here. Basically, a running commentary (sometimes on the running commentary) of Eurovision as televised by Logo. Edited somewhat to clarify things here and there. Additional commentary designated by NOTE.

* * * *

And the grand final! It has begun!

List of contestants in order of performance, with qualifying videos. Sadly, Belarus did not make the final, so we will not get to see a live performance of Naked Man With Wolfpack. (NOTE: he remained dressed for his semifinal performance and the stage remained entirely free of live wolves at that time. He did, however, rehearse the song naked with wolf. Sort of.)

The hosts, Måns Zelmerlöw and Petra Mede, who basically introduce the show and then largely disappear for big chunks of the next three hours, were kind of adorable. Especially the part where she remarked that the Eurovision crowd was the most polite she'd ever seen, because she was in the parking lot surrounded by men and not one had made a pass at her, and what did Måns think about that? At which point he very scriptedly (but still adorably) changed the subject to avoid saying, "Because they're all gay, of course." (I've no idea who Petra is; Mans is last year's winner.)

Update 1: So after half an hour of this, I'm guessing that Eurovision is just a festival of dancepop, big ballads, and dance ballads. And also interesting lighting effects, fireworks of various sorts on stage, and a surprising number of people in hoops.

Update 2: Bulgaria's contestant is allegedly wearing "the most expensive clothing outfit in Bulgarian history." I'm ... not quite seeing how that works, even though parts of it light up quite a bit. She's also apparently favored to do very well, I guess based on previous rounds. (NOTE: she did not do well.)

Update 3: Sweden's contestant is also apparently heavily favored. Kind of ... not seeing that, either. I mean, his song is fine, it's just not all that interesting. On the other hand, he is talented, and he has the sort of face that would keep him alive on Idol (if Idol itself were still alive) or The Voice regardless of talent, so. (Also, from what I understand, Sweden is probably devoutly praying he doesn't win, because they really don't want to host this again.) (NOTE: he did somewhat well with the jury, but tanked in the public televote.)

And this is followed by Germany's contestant, who got swapped in for their original winner when they discovered that he was connected to neo-Nazi groups. And her costume is ... um ... kind of j-pop/k-pop falls into a pile of bow-shaped barrettes. Also, sadly, I think her nerves are getting to her, because she keeps wandering noticeably off key, in a song that doesn't have enough instrumentation to hide that.

Update 4: I'm ... not sure I can tolerate three-plus hours of Carson Kressley/Michelle Collins commentary. (NOTE: I survived. Somehow.)

Update 5: France's song was both annoying and catchy. And Australia is back again this year, with a powerful bridal ballad! (...Well, she's wearing a wedding dress. Sort of.)

Update 6: Well. Cyprus rocks out! In cages! (Seriously, they've put the drummer and bass player in cages.) Also, I'm surprised nobody is screaming, "MY eyes! my eyes!" because that is a LOT of low-power lasers and high power spotlights, that is. Oh, and a moment of fireworks, as one does. (NOTE: Sadly, putting your drummer and bassist in cages is not a way to win votes and influence people, either in juries or the public at large, as Cyprus also tanked badly.)

Update 7: I ... genuinely think that Croatia's contestant is costumed to echo a lighthouse. (The title of her song is "Lighthouse".) Or rather, she starts out that way. And then a couple of the background singers -- who are all dressed in monks robes, more or less -- rip off the gigantic lighthouse exterior to display the interior. Which is sort of ... silvery piano attacked with feathers. And also huge. (NOTE: dressing as a lighthouse may or may not influence juries somewhat -- albeit not enough; it does not win favor with the general public. At all.)

Russia's contestant directly follows Croatia. The audience was expressly forbidden to wave rainbow flags during Russia's performance. There may not have been the masses of rainbow flags that there were last year, but there were one or two. That aside, the light show part was very VERY cool, and I want to know how they managed parts of it. (NOTE: Russia won the public vote, and, frankly, that is not even vaguely a surprise.)

At the current pace (19 of 26 finalists performed in 90 minutes), I guess at least half the show is devoted to ... voting? Half the show. OK, then. (NOTE: Yes. Half the show. Really.)

(Petra apparently has very firm opinions about the Eurovision merchandise. Reasonably sure you can't get a Eurovision straitjacket.)

Update 8: Ukraine's contestant has a very ... pointed, shall we say, song called "1944". I suspect it will not go over well in Russia, somehow. And it really desperately needed for Carson and Michelle to shut their damn mouths about it, which it did not get. (They said that her song was entirely in Ukrainian. Pretty sure that the verses were actually in English, what with the entirely comprehensible parts about knocking on your door and raping and murdering your family, and then saying that they're not guilty of doing anything wrong. Either that, or I've acquired a miraculous understanding of Ukranian!)

Update 9: And we finish the contestant portion of the evening with Armenia.

Following that, we get video of Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as their characters from "Vicious", commenting viciously (of course) that they hope someone from "one of the more attractive countries" wins. And the voting begins! (Good lord, for most of Russia, this is nearly past the wee hours into almost dawn. People from east of Moscow -- including in Australia, assuming they get to vote (NOTE: they do) -- have to be seriously devoted to stay up to vote for this.)

Maybe it's just me, but it seemed a touch ... buttoned-down this year. No lascivious milkmaids from Poland, no drag queens from Austria (or, indeed, anywhere). Kind of disappointing, really.

No idea who's going to win. I think, based purely on performance, Russia deserves it; I also think, based on the fact that Eurovision voting is relentlessly political, he probably won't.

Update 10: And now, randomly, Justin Timberlake shows up to be interviewed and later perform a song that the US is not allowed to see, for some reason. (NOTE: I've no idea where the song landed. One of the pre-taped segments, I guess, but since those segments were also announced by Mans and Petra to the in-house audience ... I've no clue.)

Update 11: And now, "The grey people", Eurovision's modern dance statement about the world-wide refugee crisis. One of those things which, when you hear it, seems like a possibly very bad idea, but which worked surprisingly well.

Update 12: "Love Love Peace Peace", the "ultimate Eurovision winner" as "scientifically determined" was absolutely, cynically perfect. More Eurovision than any in-competition song this year. And it included lascivious milkmaids, shirtless drummers and a guy in a giant hamster wheel. Måns and Petra sang together, with their initial clothes being tear-aways that revealed her costume at the beginning, his white pants at the start, followed by his top half getting gradually more and more undressed throughout the song. (He semi-undresses very nicely.) And apparently, all of the performers were members of past recent Eurovision competitors and winners.

Update 13: It's going to be fascinating to see how this comes out. So far in the juried voting (about halfway through at the moment), Australia has won only three of the 21 jury votes, but has been no lower than fifth on any ballot, and usually either second or third, which means that they're basically stomping the competition. Ukraine has won more of the juries outright, but has very few top five votes by comparison, so they're not getting a lot of overall support. (Also, there could be nothing more precious -- in every possible sense of the word -- than the way the Ukraine jury spokespeople dressed.) (Also, quoting the head of the Swedish jury: "We booked two arenas because we could afford it. After all, if there's room in the heart, there's room in the butt." ... OK, then. I'm guessing that there's a pun in there relating to the second arena that I didn't get.)

Update 14: And Ukraine, by finishing second to Russia in the public vote, manages to overtake Australia (first with the juries, fourth in the public vote) to win! It looked, for a brief moment, as though the final order of finish might have Russia overtaking Ukraine, which would have been rather excessively symbolic for Eurovision.

Oddly enough, the winning song pretty much did NOTHING that was listed in the Perfect Eurovision-Winning Song Formula. Pointedly political, a relatively dressed-down performance, and it still won.

Theoretically, next year's competition will be in ... well, probably Kiev, assuming that the war allows. I wonder if Eurovision has ever had to deal with the issue of a host country having an active war going on?

Despite not being nearly as over the top as past Eurovisions, still fun to watch. I do hope that, if it's televised by Logo again next year, they find different commentators. Either that, or get Carson and Michelle to button down the snark a bit and PAY FUCKING ATTENTION!
That was possibly the x-filesest x-file that ever xfiled. And a surprising amount of fun, if you ignore the whole thing with, what, seven, eight, nine dead people.

Started with a nice little callback to "War of the Coprophages" and "Quagmire" with Stoner Dude and Dudette, who appear to have spent the past 20 years being high. Not getting high, being high.

(After this be spoilers! So there be Cut text! Unless you're doing this via RSS, in which case, this is your last chance to run away.)

Spoilers! )

Also, I would like the ability to BS my way through anything.

I'm not sure it was good, but it was definitely fun.
Rupert Giles, MLS.

All's I have to say is, I'd have paid MUCH more attention to courses like those. (Could have gotten credit for the second one without taking it, even.)

I have a feeling "Digital Curation" may involve physical digits.

And I'm pretty sure that last one is an actual course, albeit not in library schools. I'm pretty sure I've taken that course, even.
Just a vaguely random moment.

Did you ever have something so firmly in your memory that nobody else you knew had seen or remembered, and then, oddly, you finally come across evidence that it was a real thing?

Patty Duke, many a long year ago, was in a made-for-TV film called "Before and After" in which she uttered the immortal line quoted in the title. Weirdly, that, and how that scene turned out, were all I remembered of the film.

And then, today, I happened to stumble across that very film while searching for something else. Alas, it's not set to allow embedding, but if you click on the link below, it should take you to the very point in the scene where she says those deathless words. If you go through the next minute or so of the film, including the brief tiff with her mother and the concern about her friend who developed anorexia, you'll see the waiter's response.

Before and After, the party scene.

I also remembered the waiter in the scene, in part because he'd been in a few other things around that time, none of which have made it to IMDB, not surprisingly, and I had a certain fondness for his ... eyebrows. (Seriously, those are some mighty mighty eyebrows, those are. He also had a very hairy chest. Seems he's aged rather well ... though, oddly, the eyebrows kind of haven't, if the photos are to be believed.)

You will need to see the beginning of part 7 to see how the party scene turns out. (SPOILER: She totally Does It with the waiter on a baby grand, after he listens to her go on a bit. I'd forgotten how totally toasted she gets.)
Also, aten't ded yet.

(I have actually told more than one person that they have splinters in the windmills of their mind. Sadly, few of them are old enough to catch the source reference -- not this skit, but where the line came from. However, they usually manage to figure out what I mean.)

Media Relations: Audiovox: nighttime and memory: January 2, 2012
Memory is a really weird thing sometimes, especially for stuff that's of no lasting importance....

Until I finally get the site redesigned and whatnot -- more about that later -- I'll still throw the occasional entry at the different weblogs. Eventually, I'll get it all sorted out and get them restarted. I hope. I think.

Questions? Comments? Ice-cream colored suits?
media relations / april 14, 2011 / as the soap settles

[...] Have to admit, the cancellation of All My Children (AMC) makes me sort of sad, even though I haven't watched AMC regularly in eons. I can remember, way way way way back in the mists of prehistory, when I was a young'un, watching the early episodes of All My Children while my great grandmother did ... whatever she was doing. (Hey, I was, like four or five...)[...] I did watch OLTL for a few months a couple years ago. One Life to Live introduced a storyline with two gay men, one of whom was very reluctantly coming out of the closet (Oliver Fish), and the other who had been in love with him in their long ago college days but was now in another relationship(Kyle and the man he planned to marry, Nick). Of course, this being a soap, Kyle and Fish were each other's One True Love so ... good bye, Nick. (Eventually.) And then once Kyle and Fish got together, they even got to, like, kiss and have sex and do everything the straight couples do! And we saw just as much of that as we saw of the straight couples doing the same thing! Those were actually some surprisingly well written and handled stories. The stuff around them ... not so much, actually. And then the ratings tanked, so they blamed the gay couple and shipped them off to Llanview purgatory, wherever that may be. And the ratings continued to tank, imagine that....
Media Relations / February 7, 2011 / da code: a quick take review

So I'm watching The Chicago Code. And the first episode is rather overloaded, to put it mildly. It's really fascinating to see the stuff it gets right and the stuff it gets wrong, and how it finesses the stuff it gets wrong when it can.

For example: there is no way on this earth that Teresa Colvin (Jennifer Beals) would get the job of police superintendent of Chicago. She's far too young and probably far too female ... except that they explain that as her being initially a token, and winding up being the last candidate left standing after the preferred candidate died of a heart attack. She impressed the board and city council with her passion, and so they gave her the job. (Still wouldn't happen, but a good way to explain how it did.)

The victim that kicks off the major investigation in the first episode I have a real problem with....
Media Relations: happiness, with or without coca-cola/ October 27, 2010:
An interesting study in how you can rework a tune and repurpose a commercial, I think.

As far as I can tell, the original song was written, and parts of the original video used for, a commercial for Coca Cola. Apparently, they decided that maybe they had something, because the resulting longer video and song are utterly and completely divorced from anything to do with Coke; if you didn't know it was meant for/used in an ad, you couldn't figure it out from this video. And oddly enough, I don't remember seeing or hearing this when it was a commercial....

Purely a side note: that first video is the only thing I've ever seen featuring Janelle Monae in an actual dress. I wouldn't have thought that you could translate the costume she normally wears into that sort of antique schoolmarm garb, but it works really well for that. Who knew?
Media Relations / September 20, 2010 / new fall tv 2010: book 'em, dano

All I can say is, it's clearly not quite where they meant to go, but the new Hawaii Five-0 is good stupid ultraviolent gruesome fun ... except when it's deliberately utterly appalling, of course....

Questions? Comments? Cigars, cigarettes, Cigarillos?
iainpj: cartoon of big guy in orange football uniform with bear logo on chest (freak sportif)
( Sep. 2nd, 2010 10:43 am)
The eternal problem of the superhero.

Aw, how ... um, sweet?

Either this is some seriously acid commentary about the state of the nation and of "the gay community" ... or something was lost on the way to the punchline. Or possibly both. (NB: Reading the lead-in strip -- which has some genuinely and unambiguously acid commentary -- might help.)

Not that the whole LeBron thing isn't worth mocking mercilessly ... but this is perhaps just the teensiest bit ... late.

That just can't end well.

Well ... yes. Yes, he was.

That last panel is nicely wistful, isn't it? (Click on the comic to enlarge.)

Not a comic, just commentary: I'll bet they cast him as the Governor. It would be a limited time, but also very high impact. (Not that I will be watching, oh no no no no NO. I don't need to see that particular nightmare made even more lifelike -- for certain values of "life", of course.)

And in conclusion: Best Football Predictions Show EVER.

media relations: red hood done right / August 8, 2010

In which DC Animated takes on the origin story of Jason Todd as the Red Hood and makes it make sense.

To be sure, the DC Animated people had both a signal advantage and disadvantage. Feeling that Jason Todd had been rather badly treated (a vote to kill him off, for heaven's sake, and one that seems to have been mishandled, at that), DC Animated gave Jason's origin story to Tim Drake so that Bruce Timm and friends could tell Jason's story they way they wanted -- only without Jason. Of course, that meant that if they were going to keep the movies in the same universe as the animated series, and they wanted to tell this story, they not only needed to introduce Jason from scratch, but make us understand who he was and how he fit in. After all, if all you'd ever seen was the animated series, and then went to this, your immediate assumption of the start is that the Joker is beating on Tim Drake, and that would be quite wrong.

DC Animated seem to be treating the direct-to-DVD animation as though it were almost its own universe, almost but not quite independent of the storylines they'd established with the various series....
elsewhere/media relations | ask evans for the secret of easy murder
I'm beginning to wonder if, by some alchemy or disaster, the estate of Agatha Christie is in desperate need of money. What they've permitted to be done to the books and stories for Agatha Christie's Marple, the latest series made first with Geraldine McEwan and now with Julia McKenzie in the title role, is really baffling....
Media Relations / May 27, 2010 / revision 3 and apple (sort of)

(Entry reproduced in its entirety, just because I can.)

Why The Kindle is Better Than The iPad - Penn Point

(NB: I tried to embed the video, and there is apparently something in the embed code that Dreamwidth and LJ do not like; it simply disappears from the entry every time I try to put it back in. Curious, that. Shows up just fine in the Media Relations entry.)

...So Penn Jillette's complaint is that the iPad is a distracting multitasker. Whereas my complaint -- if I owned one, which I don't and probably won't -- is that it can't multitask enough, but then, if I'm spending that much money, I'd rather have a computer than an appliance, which is what the iPad is designed to be. And getting grouchy because something is exactly what it's meant to be and designed to be is just a bit silly. That said, I still think they should have turned the Air into something, you know, functional and affordable instead of doing an appliance. I mean, consider: the screen is more or less the same size on the Air and the iPad. If they'd just stuck a central hinge on the Air, made it so that you could rotate and flatten the screen against the keyboard, then you could have something a lot more useful. (They wouldn't even have to reform their "We hate USB ports and disc slots! We want you to WORK to get something onto the machine!" ethos.) And then they could bring the price down into something that's reasonable for Apple -- Apple's prices are infrequently reasonable in regular terms -- and people would be plotzing themselves with happiness even more than they are. (And considering as the iPad is reportedly selling a million per month world wide, we're talkin' a whole lotta plotzin' here.)

Practical ideas like this, no doubt, are why I have the money I have, and why Apple has, quite insanely, surpassed Microsoft in the market cap value of the company. Bill Gates has to be scratching his head and wondering, "Wait, what the heck just happened here?" Seriously, his company has software on something like 90% of all computers in the world, most of the computer hardware in the world is made to work with some version of their operating system, they have the most widely used productivity software, and the value of their company is surpassed by one that makes a computer that's only used by a very small segment of the population. However, the population LOVES that company's toys. Not their productivity stuff -- except for a couple of the software programs -- but the toys. Everyone loves iPod, in all its many and varied forms! Everyone loves loves loves iPhone -- even though they pretty much universally loathe AT&T, or rather, being bound to the company unwillingly. And now, clearly Everybody Loves iPad.

And now for a slight veer: Have I mentioned that I love revision3.com, producers of Penn Point? No? I love revision3.com. So far, I watch three shows on their site. In part, I must confess, I watch because it's where Robert Heron and Patrick Norton landed, and as an old-time TechTV/dl.tv watcher, it warms the cockles of my heart to see them gettin' their geek on with HD Nation, even though I only just got any sort of HD anything with the new computer. Sadly, Patrick seems to have retired the kilt from the tech.tv days -- although he still has the tam. He also does Tekzilla, with Veronica Belmont, covering computer technology more generally. Veronica also gets her geek on just as much as they do -- even more so, really, since she's a hard core gamer, and Patrick doesn't seem to be.

Revision3 seems to be branching out beyond the merely techy these days. They've got a new show called Food Mob, with Niall Harbison, which is, of all things, a cooking show. Done on what looks like something slightly more than a shoestring budget -- it's got a very static camera style, and as far as you can tell from the way things are handled, it's done primarily by Niall, his cameraman Aaron (who is also the official food taster) and a producer. Each show also gets broken into something called Food Mob Bites, these little 3 minute recaps of each recipe. They're actually kind of annoying; they don't have the chyron notes and things that make up for the fact that, despite that the show is clearly aimed at beginners, Niall never tells you the amounts of anything. You chop some of this, cut in some of that, and if it weren't for the chyron sidenotes that fill in the quantities, beginners could be very lost in trying to repeat some of what he does. But still, it's fun to watch overall. It reads sort of like the concept was, "Hey, let's get a bunch of our mates together and do a cooking show!" The vibe is deliberately homespun, and weirdly Andy Hardy.

Revision3 does do a bunch of other shows, but honestly, most of them are too geeky even for me. Which is saying something, if you think about it. LandlineTV comes as close as they really get to being something that I like -- they do manage the odd moment of interestingly acid commentary (that one will go over the heads of anyone who didn't know about the Lane Bryant bra controversy, however), but it's overally not really my thing.

For Revision3 as a whole: Come for the geekery, stay for the cooking, and, if you like, stay for the gaming and even more geekery and the odd bit of comedy.
So I was just rewatching these on BBC America, and they're wonderful episodes, but here's what I don't get (apart from why River didn't die of explosive decompression right at the start, but one can handwave that, because it was after all a wonderfully stylish and dramatic entrance, what with the evening gown and all):

First, why didn't River know about Amy? She's met -- and, one strongly suspects, killed -- a later version of the Doctor; he didn't tell her about the girl whose existence seems nearly to have destroyed time itself? Really?

Second, if the angels falling into the crack of time meant that they never existed, does this mean that River is going to wind up back on the prison ship with them having absolutely no knowledge that they sent her to do anything, and thinking that she was instead an escaped prisoner? (I'm assuming for the sake of sanity that Octavian and the other soldiers getting killed before his corpse fell into the crack, along with everything else in the forest of glass and chlorophyll, means that he'll be remembered, otherwise things get very confusing indeed.)

Third, I wonder if it's going to turn out that the Pandorica is basically a version of Pandora's Box, remembrance of which has been mangled by history, as these things frequently are.

Fourth, why would going through the forest as though she could see make the angels leave Amy alone? After all, she had one in her head. It knew perfectly well she couldn't see; no faking required. And they seemed to have a markedly efficient communication system. (That moment where all the statues turn their head, though, that was a good one.)

Fifth, I really should stop thinking about these things. I mean, yes, the Moff's episodes stand up much better to Sunday morning quarterbacking than Rusty's did, but it's still Doctor Who, after all.
Media Relations / Singing Off / May 4, 2010:
[...] Now that [The Sing-Off] has been renewed, however, I really hope that the University of Oregon's On The Rocks tries out and gets onto the show. Why? Mostly because I want to see them do the number below on national television, just because....

(Also, the two guys who sing early lead are kind of cute. And I am very very shallow)

Media Relations: undercover agents / April 4, 2010: ...What sometimes bugs me is that some of the solutions on Undercover Boss are directed specifically at individuals. And it's not that I begrudge them their good luck; it's that the same opportunities are almost certainly not going to be available to other employees whom the president/CEO/COO has not met. White Castle made arrangements for one guy to go to culinary school. Two different companies made arrangements for specific employees to undergo wellness training of various sorts -- Roto-Rooter apparently arranged for one employee to get a home gym, as well as working with a nutritionist and an account at a health foods store. They also arranged for another employee to get a minibus for his amateur kids basketball team -- though, to be fair, that was almost certainly done as a donation to an organization that could use the bus for other activities. Others have gotten various types of housing arrangements handled, because for various reasons, they weren't making enough money to stave off mortgage default. (That usually, and deservedly, gets corrected as well. It's rather surprising the sheer number of people at these companies who are being outrageously underpaid, in ways that the leaders seemingly don't know about.) [...]

I was originally going to title this entry "Undercover agents for the blues", but then I figured both that it would be too obscure and too unfair to the original, which most people wouldn't know about anyway.

So, here, have a cover of the original by the woman with "the best legs in showbiz":

And also, have a copy of the original, too:

By the by, can I just mention how much I hate, loathe and despise LJ's latest code "enhancements"? This entry broke in some spectacular ways, apparently because of a misplaced slash in a tag, and then the edit window text was so mangled that I wound up just deleting and reposting. And their new full-browser-window ads are utterly unspeakably annoying. They want to drive their user base to other places, this is a good way to do it.

You know, I'd actually watch this, if only to see how the ... thing between the groundskeeper and whoever that's supposed to be turns out. (I'm guessing it's his long lost previously unknown twin brother.)
So I found out today that Hulu has the original miniseries once called "Tales from a Parallel Universe", which later developed into a regular four-year series called LEXX. About the semi-fugitive crew of an interstellar ship shaped like, and more or less being, a giant dragonfly. (A really REALLY giant dragonfly.)
lexx in space

The series involves a cowardly fugitive gate guard, a woman who was forcibly shapeshifted against her will from being a very large woman into a semi-traditional looking sexpot (with a small if accidental dose of carnivorous cluster lizard mixed in), Jiggurrata the cannibal woman, Kai the last of the Vroonen-ji who happens to be a reanimated dead man, 790 the robot head, and Barry Bostwick wearing surprisingly little (he doesn't actually live all that long, which is clearly due to the sparkly skirt). In fact, one of the incidental pleasures of this series is that, with the exception of Stanley Tweedle (the coward) and Kai the undead, several of the men in the initial miniseries are considerably more scantily clad than the women. Many of the men wear this really really strange top that does this chest squishing thing that makes it look like the outfit is meant to, as Playtex once said, "lift and separate", only the designer kind of forgot how the "separate" part is supposed to work. (Kai, on the other hand, is dressed head to toe in black lace and leatherette and has a fabulous uplift 'do! ... Sorry. Couldn't resist. He's very very uplifty. Also, the bit where he winds up having to pick up and reassemble his head is kind of priceless. And the updo stays intact!) Thing being the sort of series it is, Kai, being undead, can't get it up, and has no desire to do so even if he could. This being the sort of series it is, Zev the not-quite-loveslave falls truly madly deeply in love and lust with him. Stanley, being alive and able to get it up, falls madly in lust with Zev ... who, being properly repulsed at some of Stanley's past traitorous acts, won't let him touch her. And so on.

It was originally a German/Canadian co-production that got shown on Showtime back in 1998 or thereabouts. The idea seems to be more or less as follows: How many B-movie concepts can we put into one miniseries, but since it is a miniseries, actually do it with something resembling a script and actual production values? Let's see, we got space dragonflies, undead warriors, vaguely heroic cowards, sexbombs, cannibals, gruesome stuff ... what else can we include? The series contains not only Barry Bostwick, but also Rutger Hauer and Tim Curry, so scenery WAS chewed with great relish. Which was more or less the intent.

It's also really wonderfully gruesome and anatomically inaccurate. There's one point where a person's brain gets removed, and he's clearly human, so it shouldn't work the way it does -- the brain isn't attached to anything internal at all. Also, apparently it's possible to talk when your brain has been removed from your head. And brains without bodies can sing wonderfully martial songs and scream in pain. And other fun stuff like that.

(Back when it was first telecast, I may have, every once in a while, wound up randomly saying things like "I worship your divine shadow," or "Gigashadow, gigashadow, rah! rah! rah!" or something like that at random intervals. As one does. Because at a certain point, it becomes impossible for any right-thinking person to do anything but cheer for the Gigashadow, even though you know it can't win. This was, of course, before the Gigashadow was revealed in all its immense gigashadowiness, at which point I pretty much laughed myself sick.)

It did get turned into a regular series. And at some point the actor who played the original Zev the sexpot left the role, but had been so identified with it that instead of recasting, they created a new role that did more or less the same thing. And then somehow they crossed universes and wound up in ours or something like that. I don't remember, actually.

But still.

The intro below, strangely enough, does cover most of the high points, if that's quite the right word, of the miniseries:

In any event, it turns out to be more or less the perfect sort of thing to have on in the background when you've got a bunch of mindless tasks to do. And if you do it quietly enough, nobody needs to hear you cheering on the Gigashadow. (EDIT: It's also acceptable to cheer, "Go, Squish, go!" In fact, technically even more acceptable.)


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